Re: Too narrowly defined: DIVISION SIGN & COLON

From: Leif Halvard Silli <>
Date: Mon, 9 Jul 2012 10:39:52 +0200

Hi David and Jukka,

Jukka K. Korpela, Mon, 09 Jul 2012 10:04:08 +0300:
> 2012-07-09 8:19, Leif Halvard Silli wrote:

Thanks for letting me know that the '÷' is used a minus in the Finish
context too. I'm sure there is some interesting story around this ...
Btw, I can say that when using calculators (which tend to use the '÷'
as a DIVISION rather than as MINUS/subtraction), then I often get
confused - if if is a calculator I'm not familar with: Is that key a
DIVISION SIGN or a MINUS? So the issue with the 'division minus' is a
so called "real issue" ...

>> III. Conclusions: Proposal for next Unicode update
>> Proposal 1:
>> EITHER division sign should be renamed to division-minus sign.
>> OR a new "double dotted minus" character should be added.
>> Proposal 2:
>> EITHER the COLON should be baptized colon-division character.
>> OR a new 'division colon' should be added.
> Unicode names will never be changed, see
> [ snip ]

OK. Wasn't sure if that policy covered the names.

> Adding new characters would be possible in principle, but hardly
> realistic or useful in this case. They would not change the bulk of
> existing data that uses existing characters, and they would just add
> to the confusion rather than remove it.

Could not 'DIVISION SLASH' have been dismissed by the same argument? Is
the reason for adding new characters the hope that we can get all
authors to switch over to the new characters? I thought not? Except as
a "pipe dream" perhaps ... I'd say that the purpose should be to take
the consequence of a realization that it is a independent character.

(But I guess, as well, that it would be legitimate, for a font
designer, to make a 'MINUS' which was shaped as a DIVISION MINUS?)

> It would be possible, and probably useful, to add annotations to the
> code charts, describing that COLON is also used to denote division
> and DIVISION SIGN is also used to denote subtraction. But the
> annotations would need to be very short.

That sounds like an option that I am ready to wholeheartedly accept if
we can't have new characters.

But before landing on that conclusion, I would like to point out that
if one added new characters, then one would get annotation, _as well_
... E.g. take the "DIVISION SLASH" which, in its NamesList field has
these pointers:
                • generic division operator
                → (solidus - 002F)
                → (fraction slash - 2044)

And likewise, when I look at SOLIDUS, I get all this:
                = slash, virgule
                → (latin letter dental click - 01C0)
                → (combining long solidus overlay - 0338)
                → (fraction slash - 2044)
                → (division slash - 2215)

Thus, adding new characters, should cause similar pointers to be added
to the related characters.

Leif H Silli
Received on Mon Jul 09 2012 - 03:43:58 CDT

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