Re: Encoding the graphemes of the SignWriting Script with the x-ISWA-2010

From: William_J_G Overington (
Date: Fri Jan 07 2011 - 02:06:06 CST

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    Steve Slevinski <> wrote:
    > The objective of the Unicode proposal is to create as much
    > compatibility as possible between the encoding specified in
    > the I-D (or RFC) with the Unicode standard.
    I notice that the Unicode proposal is for some characters in plane 1.
    I notice that there is also some encoding of characters into plane 15, which is a Private Use Area plane.
    Please correct me if I have misunderstood, yet it seems to me that the idea is to use those characters with a plane 15 encoding on a permanent basis, rather than to propose that they be encoded into regular Unicode.
    This raises an interesting situation.
    Suppose that a proposal were made to encode those characters into regular Unicode, perhaps into plane 14.
    That proposal would be discussed by the Unicode Technical Committee and the Unicode Technical Committee would decide what to do. There are various possibilities, including, though not limited to, the following: accept, reject, refer to a subcommittee, put out to Public Review.
    However, suppose that the characters were not encoded into regular Unicode as a result of that proposal and its consideration. In that case, an emoji type situation might well arise whereby a proposal for encoding into regular Unicode would be made at a later date by a search engine company on the grounds that the messages containing the plane 15 characters were being stored in databases and much confusion were occurring in those databases so please could the characters be encoded in regular Unicode so as to avoid the problem.
    It seems to me that, after the emoji situation, there is good reason to consider encoding all of the characters for SignWriting into regular Unicode now, some in plane 1 and some in plane 14 and to make it all a direct Unicode plain text encoding with no need for a higher-level protocol to be involved.
    I am quite happy to acknowledge that at present I know little about the SignWriting characters: I am simply commenting on the situation as it appears to me, commenting in the hope that the members of the Unicode list can collectively arrive at the best solution for producing a superb quality Unicode encoding for the SignWriting characters for the future.
    William Overington
    7 January 2011

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