Splitting script from existing encoding?

From: Christopher Miller (christophermiller@mac.com)
Date: Tue Oct 27 2009 - 12:12:48 CST

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    I have been doing research on the "diagonal axis" scripts of Indonesia
    and the Philippines (Tagalog, Buhid, Hanunů'o, Buginese, Rejang, Batak
    etc.) and it has become clear that among the scripts of Sulawesi, the
    Old Makassarese script is distinct in its structure and origins from
    the Buginese script. (The most easily accessible example of Old
    Makassarese script in published sources is in reproductions of a
    Makassarese transcription of the 1667 Treaty of Bungaya, a section of
    which is reproduced in the revised final Unicode proposal for Buginese
    at Evertype.com.)

    While current Buginese script, also used for the Makassarese language
    from the 18th century or so on, is clearly related to the Philippine
    scripts, the Old Makassarese script is closely related to the South
    Sumatran scripts (Rejang, Lampung and Kerinci), with the addition of
    some seven or eight characters adapted from Javanese and/or Balinese.
    It is probable that this script was replaced by the Buginese script in
    part because the latter, with its minimal letter shapes, is much
    simpler to write compared to the often more complex Old Makassar
    characters (which I have seen described as "birdlike").

    Given this biscriptal situation, similar in a way to that of
    Moldavian, Turkish, or other central Asian Turkic languages, I am
    curious about the criteria that are used to decide when a script (that
    apart from its letter forms otherwise corresponds to another) should
    be treated and encoded as distinct from another. Cases that spring to
    mind are Samaritan and Phoenician in relation to Hebrew.

    The research I am doing is still in progress and has not been
    published yet, but I anticipate it might have consequences for a
    desire to encode Old Makassarese separately among members of the
    research community and Makassarese interested in their cultural

    Can anyone give me suggestions about this?


    Christopher Miller
    Montreal QC Canada

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