Re: Mark-Driven Script Categorisation

From: Philippe Verdy <>
Date: Thu, 17 May 2012 20:41:19 +0200

2012/5/17 Richard Wordingham <>:
> On Wed, 16 May 2012 15:32:31 -0700
> Ken Whistler <> wrote:
>> On 5/16/2012 2:54 PM, Richard Wordingham wrote:
>> > I have been wondering if U+0078 LATIN
>> > SMALL LETTER X should be made common script because of its use for
>> > displaying Lao vowels, but perhaps the principle of separation of
>> > scripts should lead to LAO LETTER SMALL X.
>> Please, no! ;-)
>> Orthographies which mix in random characters from other scripts do not
>> (or should not) drive the identity of characters for *scripts* per se.
>> And edge cases for making mixed script collation work should not drive
>> such decisions, either.
> So how do we tell writers of rendering engines that it is OK to
> have U+0078 with Lao vowel marks? (I'm not entirely convinced this is
> the reason for having 'x' on the Lao keyboard.) I'm still not seeing
> much sign that they believe that all marks may be allowed on U+00A0

Is it really the Latin letter x in question there, if it's use is to
be a visible placeholder to hold diacritic vowel marks ? The Latin
letter has the problem of is dual case (not found in the Lao script,
and a too large variation across many font styles, when the
multiplication sign would probably fit better for its use as a
placeholder. It also has the advantage of being a symbol, like the
dotted circle which plays the same role. And a symbol whose glyph
shows much less variations.

You may argue that in languages written with the Latin script, the
letter x is also frequently found instead of the multiplication sign,
but this is still fine within a linguistic context where the Latin
script is used : the letter x is just simple to type. But today it's
not difficult to type instead because it is very well supported in
many fonts and present in many legacy 8-bit encodings.

I don't think that the Lao script needs such an extension with a Latin
letter, and the multiplication sign would certainly better match as
this very common mathematic symbol is also used in Lao just like in
most other languages.

There are several similar looking symbols like which also exist but
they are generally larger in size and could collide with vowel marks
you would want to attach to them. The good thing about the symbol is
that it has an inherent symetry, no joining in cursive styles, no
serifs, this is a very basic cross, just like the plus sign, with a
very basic geometric shape made of two short and equal strokes crossed
in their middle (fonts do not vary a lot about these, even if the
glyph size may vary a bit, as well as the vertical placement on the
baseline or in the middle of the x-height, or on the mathematical
central line; the only unique features will be the linecaps of the
strokes, rounded or rectangular, and its weight, but it will match the
style of digits, which are also used in Lao, so that these variations
of the symbol remain limited and largely acceptable, where the other
encoded crosses, such as the symbols used to say "no" with a cross
checkmark, will fit worse for the expected use).
Received on Thu May 17 2012 - 13:44:31 CDT

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