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

From: Charlie Ruland ☘ (
Date: Mon Dec 21 2009 - 13:46:18 CST

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    John H. Jenkins wrote:
    > 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!!!!
    In fact there are already so many characters that making up new ones is
    quite unnecessary. If one day the need for a ‘new’ character emerges
    (eg, to signify a ‘new’ chemical element) I’m all in favour of a
    borrowed character (假借字) — see my last post for an example. Frankly I
    don’t believe that any one-character writing for Unicode has the chance
    of becoming popular.
    > 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),
    This is why there will NEVER be a single character for Unicode in
    Mandarin, because it would require to be pronounced as one syllable, but
    there are already far too many homophonic characters in the language.
    However the subject of this thread is JAPANESE hànzì (aka kanji). In
    Japanese nothing prevents a kanji from having polysyllabic readings like
    ユニコード (yunikōdo).
    > 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.
    ... which isn’t Japanese at all. I think in Japanese it should be:
    Unicode or ユニコード (and perhaps also Unicode).

    The term 統一碼 you give is of course Mandarin, but in that language
    Unicode may be any of the following:

    Unicode / Unicode
    統一碼 / 统一码
    萬國碼 / 万国码
    單一碼 / 单一码
    標準萬國碼 / 标准万国码

    Glad days are getting longer again,

    > =====
    > John H. Jenkins

    Charlie • 查理 • चार्ली • Чарли • تشارلي
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    — Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher (1844–1900)

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