Preliminary proposal to encode Unifon in the UCS.

From: Michael Everson <>
Date: Wed, 30 May 2012 19:51:22 +0100

On 28 May 2012, at 01:33, Jean-François Colson wrote:

> Le 05/03/12 19:34, Michael Everson a écrit :
>> Comment is invited.
>> I have had some feedback from the UTC already.
>> Michael Everson *
> Hello
> I’m sorry I missed your post. I hope it’s not too late to comment.
> You wrote: “Unifon was adapted principally by Tom Parsons of Humboldt State University to provide a practical orthography for several the Hupa, Yurok, Tolowa, and Karok languages.”
> Shouldn’t you remove the word “several”?

Yes. That may have been corrected in the second version. I will check anyway.

> Encoding model.
> 1st possibility: a separate script. There’ll be no problem.

There would, because the bulk of the script would look just like Latin, and the encoding committees consider this to be a security issue for internet spoofing for instance.

> 2nd possibility: Latin extensions. We’ll have to format the text in lowercase to get correct small Unifon letters. The situation won’t be a
> lot better than today.

I don't see how. Firstly most Unifon text is in all caps. So the minority of text which would have to be styled in small caps would not be problematic.

> Now, in mixed text (where we used both Latin and Unifon letters), we must change the font whenever we change the alphabet.

Yes, but if Unifon were unified with Latin then a single font would serve them both, so long as there were no overunifications for a few of the letters.

> If the 2nd possibility is chosen, well have to change the format (either standard text or small caps) endlessly.

Only if you were mixing casing Unifon orthography with regular English text.

> I wonder whether we could imagine a 3rd possibility: use Latin letters with a variation selector which would be interpreted as “The preceding
> letter is a Unifon letter. The lowercase should be displayed as a small capital.” The VS could be encoded automatically by the keyboard driver.

That would not tempt either me or the encoding committees. It would simply be adding another mechanism to produce small caps.

> Combining diacritical marks.
> Why did you keep the letters hah, kah, ghah and xah in the chart? Shouldn’t you remove them? They could be written with the combining diacritics.

The exploratory proposal you reviewed was not a proposal per se. Those were listed just so people could see the repertoire.

> LETTER THIING” both with a double I. Is it “THIING” or “THING”?

THING, though these names may change.

> On the same page and the following one, the subtitles “Archaic small letters” they are just before the lettres with macron while they should
> be, IIRC, between ewe and chay.

Yes, well, people make mistakes. :-)

> “Figure 8. The Unifon alphabet for Hupe.” Shouldn’t that be “Hupa”?


> “10a. Can any of the proposed character(s) be considered to be similar
> (in appearance or function) to an existing character?”
> “No.”
> I’m a little surprised. If the 2nd possibility was envisioned, isn’t it because many Unifon letters are similar in appearance and often in
> function with some capital Latin letters?

I didn't bother with that in an exploratory proposal.

> I think that’s all I have to say about this proposal.

I'd be grateful if you would review the later proposal,

Michael Everson *
Received on Wed May 30 2012 - 13:54:54 CDT

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