Re: CSUR Tonal

From: Doug Ewell (
Date: Sun Jul 25 2010 - 19:48:58 CDT

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    I don't know if this belongs on the public Unicode list or not. I
    assume anyone who feels it should not will not keep their feelings
    secret for long.

    Luke-Jr wrote:

    > I would appreciate any constructive input on this future proposal (for
    > CSUR, not Unicode). Doug, do you mind if Tonal is positioned after
    > your Ewellic script (maybe you plan to extend it?) from U+E6D0 to
    > U+E6FF?

    Since I am not the administrator of CSUR, I really don't have any say or
    control over that. However, since Ewellic could be considered a
    "living" conscript (I added 13 new letters two years ago, and would like
    to add at least one more), it doesn't seem strictly necessary to close
    off the right end of its block. There is a contiguous block of over
    4,200 code points starting at U+E830 (after Monofon) and it seems to me
    that could be used for Tonal instead.

    > Specific questions I have:

    Following are first-cut answers. I would not suggest immediately
    cranking out a new revision of your proposal based on these comments
    until you get others.

    > - Am I using COMBINING correctly? Is it sufficient for fonts to render
    > units properly?

    These are not really combining marks; they appear to be nothing more
    than ordinary Latin superscript letters. As such, I would suggest not
    only that the "multiplication" and "division" superscripts be unified
    with each other, but that they be unified with already-encoded Latin
    superscript letters S, T, b, m, r, s, and t. (The existing multi-letter
    symbols you may have seen in the Unicode Standard are for compatibility
    with legacy character sets, a requirement that does not apply to Tonal.)

    Imagine my surprise, then, when I found that these superscripts are not
    formally encoded (only i and n are). So in that case, I would suggest
    simply encoding seven Latin superscript letters as above, which of
    course could be used for other purposes as well, and for that reason
    might eventually become candidates for formal encoding.

    > - Do I have enough background on the Tonal system itself? It doesn't
    > seem the right place to give all the specific details on how it works,
    > but maybe more would be useful?

    I don't think you need to explain it further, but you should definitely
    have a bibliographic reference to Nystrom's book, perhaps including a
    link to the Google Books scan since it might be difficult for readers to
    find this book any other way.

    > - Is my usage of HTML <sup> for unit examples appropriate, despite it
    > not rendering *just* right (at least not in my viewer)?

    Looks fine to me. Don't expect your typography, mine, or anyone else's
    to be pixel-for-pixel identical to that of a book printed 150 years ago.

    > since it is invalid in a decimal context?

    All of the digits should be HEXADECIMAL. You should also fix the typo
    "HEXADECIAML" in your proposal.

    > - Should I define TONAL HEXADECIMAL DIGIT TEN, even though it looks
    > like Unicode DIGIT NINE (U+0039)?

    I would encode all of them as a set. The Basic Latin digits have the
    wrong property (General Category Nd) and it could be argued it is only a
    coincidence that they have the "right" appearance for tonal use.

    > - Should I put "(This position shall not be used)" in reserved
    > positions, or does this mean it shall not be used *ever*?

    You have used it correctly. Note, however, that you should not reserve
    space for "future" multiplication and division signs unless you think
    Nystrom defined some and you simply haven't been able to find a
    reference. This is not a space for you to invent your own symbols,
    unless you say so in the prose.

    > - Is it proper to give glyph examples to TONAL COMBINING UNIT
    > DIVISION/MULTIPLICATION for tran, song, and tam, which Nystrom never
    > explained how specifically they should be written (following his
    > general directions, they would overlap with the
    > division/multiplications for ton and san)?

    If Nystrom did not use them, you should not include them unless you
    specifically state they are your own invention.

    Doug Ewell | Thornton, Colorado, USA |
    RFC 5645, 4645, UTN #14 | ietf-languages @ is dot gd slash 2kf0s ­

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