Re: Are Latin and Cyrillic essentially the same script?

From: Asmus Freytag (
Date: Thu Nov 18 2010 - 13:04:50 CST

  • Next message: JP Blankert (thuis & PC based): "pupil's comment: Are Latin and Cyrillic essentially the same script?"

    On 11/18/2010 8:04 AM, Peter Constable wrote:
    > From: [] On Behalf Of André Szabolcs Szelp
    >> AFAIR the reservations of WG2 concerning the encoding of Jangalif
    >> Latin Ь/ь as a new character were not in view of Cyrillic Ь/ь, but
    >> rather in view of its potential identity with the tone sign mentioned
    >> by you as well. It is a Latin letter adapted from the Cyrillic soft sign,
    > There's another possible point of view: that it's a Cyrillic character that, for a short period, people tried using as a Latin character but that never stuck, and that it's completely adequate to represent Janalif text in that orthography using the Cyrillic soft sign.

    When one language borrows a word from another, there are several stages
    of "foreignness", ranging from treating the foreign word as a short
    quotation in the original language to treating it as essentially fully

    Now words are very complex in behavior and usage compared to characters.
    You can check for pronunciation, spelling and adaptation to the host
    grammar to check which stage of adaptation a word has reached.

    When a script borrows a letter from another, you are essentially limited
    in what evidence you can use to document objectively whether the
    borrowing has crossed over the script boundary and the character has
    become "native".

    With typographically closely related scripts, getting tell-tale
    typographical evidence is very difficult. After all, these scripts
    started out from the same root.

    So, you need some other criteria.

    You could individually compare orthographies and decide which ones are
    "important" enough (or "established" enough) to warrant support. Or you
    could try to distinguish between orthographies for general use withing
    the given language, vs. other systems of writing (transcriptions, say).

    But whatever you do, you should be consistent and take account of
    existing precedent.

    There are a number of characters encoded as nominally "Latin" in Unicode
    that are borrowings from other scripts, usually Greek.

    A discussion of the current issue should include explicit explanation of
    why these precedents apply or do not apply, and, in the latter case, why
    some precedents may be regarded as examples of past mistakes.

    By explicitly analyzing existing precedents, it should be possible to
    avoid the impression that the current discussion is focused on the
    relative merits of a particular orthography based on personal and
    possibly arbitrary opinions by the work group experts.

    If it can be shown that all other cases where such borrowings were
    accepted into Unicode are based on orthographies that are more
    permanent, more widespread or both, or where other technical or
    typographical reasons prevailed that are absent here, then it would make
    any decision on the current request seem a lot less arbitrary.

    I don't know where the right answer lies in the case of Janalif, or
    which point of view, in Peter's phrasing, would make the most sense, but
    having this discussion without clear understanding of the precedents
    will lead to inconsistent encoding.


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