Re: [unicode] Re: Canadian aboriginal syllabics in vertical writing mode

From: Michael Everson <>
Date: Tue, 1 May 2012 19:19:44 +0100

On 1 May 2012, at 17:05, Julian Bradfield wrote:

> On 2012-05-01, Michael Everson <> wrote:
>> than it is in English, except in neon). The examples you showed were made by people who hadn't thought about what they were doing. Since
> Don't you think the native speakers might know what they're doing?

Being a native speaker of a language does not confer an ability to typeset. But government documents are often translated from majority languages into minority languages and make use of the template handed to them (in this case most likely French or English).

>> Canadian Syllabics characters change their meaning when seen sideways, setting text in the way those two documents did it simply causes immediate confusion as to the legibility of the text.
> Not so. I've never looked at Canadian syllabics before,

And I've worked with Inuktitut software localization and with encoding and fonts for syllabics since the 1990s, so I would like to suggest that I know something about the subject.

> but it was immediately obvious (thanks to the "superscript" characters) that it was text rotated through 90 degrees, so if I wanted to read it (and knew the script and the language), I would read it accordingly.

Nevertheless because of the structural features the text is considerably more confusing than sideways Latin is for readers of Latin.

> Whether there are character sequences that could be read meaningfully both as vertical text and rotated text is an interesting question - is your Inuktitut up to answering it?

It does not matter if sideways text can be read as words, or just as gibberish. Good practice and typographic design will not rotate syllabic text because of the inherent confusability.

Michael Everson *
Received on Tue May 01 2012 - 13:22:32 CDT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0 : Tue May 01 2012 - 13:22:33 CDT