Re: Emoji: Public Review December 2008: e-1DE CHINESE ZODIAC DRAGON

From: John H. Jenkins (
Date: Wed Mar 11 2009 - 11:49:28 CST

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    On Mar 11, 2009, at 9:35 AM, Peter Constable wrote (addressing Michael

    >> That doesn't mean a RABBIT isn't a RABBIT. What possible benefit
    >> could
    >> there be to distinguish RABBIT from ZODIAC RABBIT?
    > What possible benefit could there be to specifying _this_ RABBIT as
    > being a ZODIAC RABBIT (an intrinsically narrower intension)?
    >> It's a RABBIT, Ken.
    > Erm... I think you are in agreement on that point, which is where
    > this thread started: the name in the proposal is RABBIT, not ZODIAC
    > RABBIT.
    >> Then what is wrong with
    >> RABBIT
    >> * used in Chinese astrology
    > No problem with the name. The problem with the annotation is that it
    > suggests a primary intended usage that is somewhat narrow. A far
    > less biased annotation would be "used as Japanese emoji", which
    > leaves people free to infer use to denote a zodiacal sign or
    > whatever other possible semantics might be used in that context.

    D'accord. I rather doubt that these symbols in existing practice are
    limited to the Chinese zodiac and certainly once this set escapes into
    the wild they won't be. ("ur a <U+1F374> & ful of ♉") Even if they
    were originally added to provide cute, iconic support for the animals
    in the Chinese zodiac, we shouldn't be marking that as their use. Not
    only do standard icons outside of the hanzi in question not exist in
    East Asia, different countries don't even agree on the same set of
    twelve animals. (Vietnam has a cat instead of a rabbit.)

    In any event, to even annotate the name "used in Chinese astrology" is
    wrong, not just because it's too narrow, but because it's wrong. U
    +5154 is used in Chinese astrology. The RABBIT emoji could
    conceivably used to refer to the rabbit of the Chinese zodiac, but an
    astrologer who wants something to use the way we use ♉ in the West
    would use U+5154, not the emoji.

    People who want to use them for that can find them without our
    pointing it out. ("im a <U+1F392> wat r u?"/"im a <U+1F377>", or "im
    a gem wat r u?"/"<U+1F384>")

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