Re: Is there a Japanese character for the word Unicode? (from Re: Unicode Haiku Contest)

From: John H. Jenkins (
Date: Mon Dec 21 2009 - 12:04:40 CST

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    On Dec 21, 2009, at 2:50 AM, William_J_G Overington wrote:

    > I was wondering if a new character to mean Unicode could be devised from something like "writing that travels along wires" or maybe some other derivation.
    > Any ideas?


    Please, please, *please*, DO NOT MAKE UP NEW IDEOGRAPHS!!!!

    Making up new ideographs is a Very Bad Thing. It's so seductive, so enticing, so attractive, but it really is a bad idea, because it creates a burden on people who have to support the blasted things. It will have to wend its way through the IRG, find its way into fonts, get insinuated into input methods, discover pronunciations (and, I should mention, characters in Chinese have one-syllable pronunciations), and get documented. Given the thousands of *real* hanzi out there that aren't encoded yet, every bit of additional complication is to be avoided. Seriously.

    This isn't like an alphabetic script, where you can make up a new word (say, "Taligent") and have people be able to use it. There is a *lot* of work that goes into supporting hanzi and to most people, even native speakers, it will just be confusing and a meaningless blob if/when they run into it, because it won't have an obvious meaning or pronunciation.

    Even if you plan to be decorative about it and just make something up as a dingbat, don't.

    If you *must* have *a* hanzi that means "Unicode," do two things: Use one that already exists, and let the Consortium pick one for itself. Right now we're perfectly happy with 統一碼.

    John H. Jenkins

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