RE: CSUR Tonal

From: Doug Ewell (
Date: Mon Jul 26 2010 - 12:19:27 CDT

  • Next message: Luke-Jr: "Re: CSUR Tonal"

    "Luke-Jr" <luke at dashjr dot org> wrote:

    >> A superscript letter, representing the multiplier or divisor, before or
    >> after the base unit would be plain text.
    > In my experimenting with fonts, I also noticed that the Unicode superscripts
    > mentioned by Kent have a lower floor from that which is defined by Tonal, at
    > least with Luxi Mono. Would this be a reason to encode them separately, or
    > should the particular rendering floor be considered a font issue?

    I found the relevant section on page 51 of Nystrom's book (superscripted
    letters indicated here by parentheses):

    "The abridgment of the units to be noted by capital letters, and the
    multiplication and division of the same as an exponent by a small letter
    placed before or after the unit, thus, M(t) = Meterton, (t)M = Tonmeter,
    G(s) = Gallsan, T(s) Timsan, P(m) = Ponmills, &c., &c."

    His superscripted letters have a baseline approximately level with the
    crossbar of the capital G, but *on no account* would I take that to be
    normative, as if some other proportions would not be identifiable with
    the intended semantic. Nystrom used the word "exponent" and beyond that
    it's up to the individual writer, typesetter, or font designer.

    Font inadequacies, and most especially perceived inadequacies, are no
    reason to encode new characters. Font designers do have some artistic
    leeway, even for IPA.

    >> Note that this problem doesn't stop there; the tonal-system mechanism of
    >> inventing short words for higher orders of multiplication is unspecified
    >> beyond the (decimal) quadrillions, which is inadequate for many
    >> scientific needs.
    > There are many shortcomings of the Tonal system, which this proposal is not
    > intended to address. However, it seems unfair to *assume* a shortcoming when
    > other possibilities exist. Also, do note that your "quadrillions" equivalency
    > is based on number of zero digits. The actual decimal equivalent is in fact
    > about 18 quintillion.

    I didn't think I assumed anything, though I haven't read the whole book.
     The "quadrillions" figure was dashed off from memory; whether the
    system stops at quadrillions or quintillions doesn't really affect my
    point one way or the other. But you are correct; this is not the venue
    to discuss pros or cons of the system.

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

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