Re: North Korean fonts

From: John H. Jenkins (
Date: Thu Jul 02 2009 - 19:00:50 CDT

  • Next message: Kenneth Whistler: "Re: North Korean fonts"

    On Jul 2, 2009, at 5:10 PM, Robert Abel wrote:

    > sorry to interrupt, but why can't the same process that has been
    > applied to all the other han glyphs take place here? Is it really
    > that hard to find some authoritative North Koren sources on stroke
    > order and glyphs?

    Yes, it is. Travel is highly restricted, the people from North Korea
    who participate in international standards meetings are strictly
    monitored, standards exist without any apparent published form and
    certainly none available commercially -- that is, *other* than from
    the North Korean standards body. Goodness knows what would happen if
    someone started making unauthorized contact one direction or the other.

    > I noticed that University Professors helped with the Japanese glyphs
    > at least (found some things in the mailing list archives as well as
    > on some home pages).

    I'm not sure what kind of help you mean here. The IRG only deals with
    its member bodies, who are each responsible for providing their own
    representation through whom the interaction is done. Members include
    and have included the US, Japan, both Koreas, China, Taiwan, Hong
    Kong, Macao, Vietnam, Singapore, and Malaysia. Unicode also
    participates. Members submit their proposals through their
    representatives, who bear the responsibility for providing the fonts.
    The IRG does not accept help on the font front from just anyone who
    volunteers. If a Japanese professor is able to help forward the work,
    they do so through the Japanese national standards body.

    The IRG definitely does not actively seek out outside sources for
    data. If anybody -- North Korea or anybody else -- wants their stuff
    added through the IRG, they need to provide the necessary data to the

    Remember just how incredibly massive this work is. We have over
    70,000 ideographs already standardized and thousands more in the
    queue. Some of these differ in very subtle ways from one another and
    the differences need to be examined carefully and debated. The actual
    work of the IRG is done by about a dozen people.

    And it has happened more than once that a character in the final
    published form of the Universal Character Set looks "wrong" to the
    people who proposed it in the first place, whence our insistence that
    anybody who wants something encoded has to provide the font that will
    be used in printing.

    > The thing is, doo we need a font that is made by the government/
    > language authority or just authoritative sources?

    It has to be provided through whoever represents the country/member
    body to the IRG. Yes, someone else could physically make the fonts
    but unless the North Koreans sign off on the result, it does no good.
    At the moment, there is no communication going on with the North
    Korean IRG representatives in any way and there's nothing we can do
    about it at this end.

    John H. Jenkins

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