Re: Encoding of invented items (from RE: Assigning a plane for mapping digits for many different bases)

From: Rick McGowan (
Date: Thu Mar 10 2011 - 11:33:33 CST

  • Next message: Shawn Steele: "RE: Encoding of invented items (from RE: Assigning a plane for mapping digits for many different bases)"


    >> Not that there has to be a very large community of users,
    >> but we can't use Unicode as a device for someone to get
    >> their invented character adopted by other users.
    > I am wondering quite why that is the case.
    > ....
    > So what is wrong with someone applying for an invented character
    > to be encoded so that it becomes available for other people to
    > use within the framework of regular Unicode?

    Here's one simple reason, though of course not the only one:

         Most inventions fail.

    It's a very simple fact. Just as 90% of everything is crap ('s_Law ) most inventions fail. The
    history of writing is littered with experimentation and failure. People
    invent stuff, try to drum up support, and the proposals go nowhere, most of
    the time.

    It's unreasonable to think that Unicode -- which is supposed to be a set of
    characters that are used by communities for ordinary writing and
    communication -- should enter whole-heartedly into the long history of
    linguistic experiments that fail.

    But, in fact, Unicode *does* allow for experimentation, more than any other
    character encoding before it. You are free to use the PUA in whatever way
    you want for whatever inventions you want. You're free to write as much
    software as you want that implements your dream of the utopian future of
    writing and communication. Then, when you have something that works, you can
    go out and peddle it far and wide. My prediction is that, at minimum, 90% of
    the time such experiments will go nowhere.

    There are good reasons for linguistic and script conservatism:
    communication; not only with contemporaries, but across the stretches of
    history as well. If you don't understand that, you're not qualified to be
    proposing any ideas about writing or human communication. To make whole
    segments of society abandon something that works in favor of a new system,
    or even to bolt a new system onto the side of what they already have,
    requires a whole host of variables to line up in special ways. Otherwise,
    the experiment just fails.

    If you want a place to start looking at experimentation with language and
    script, I suggest you read this wonderful book:
    "In the Land of Invented Languages", by Arika Okrent
    And pay particularly close attention to the places where the author talks
    about universal languages, script reforms, and such. Follow up by diving
    into the bibliography.

    Then, go out to your favorite search engine and type something like "script
    reforms fail" and start reading the online articles.

    Then, when you understand something of all that history, come back again and
    ask yourself this question:

    > it is unreasonable and a needless barrier to progress for someone to need to first establish widespread usage using the Private Use Area before encoding in regular Unicode can take place.

    It's not unreasonable and it's not a needless barrier to progress. It's
    plain common sense, and committee consensus, and is supported by over a
    thousand years of hard evidence.

    It's also been shown in history that solutions in search of problems will
    almost always languish. You keep coming up with things like "localizable
    sentences" without having any understanding of the problems or technology
    involved. The idea is, to put it mildly, intractable. And it's not worth
    anyone in the Unicode community wasting any more time on it. It's a
    non-sensical solution to a non-problem.


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