Re: Mayan numerals

From: Michael Everson <>
Date: Thu, 23 Aug 2012 20:26:41 +0100

Rick has pretty much answered this.

On 23 Aug 2012, at 18:33, Jameson Quinn wrote:

>> Because we aren't ready to do it without doing it in the context of the whole script.
> Why not? Can you give some indication of what you're afraid of, some scenario of how we could possibly later regret having included the basic digits now?

Because the structure of the Mayan script is complex, and I don't believe that just saying that the numbers are simple and do not participate in that complexity is sufficient to convince us that encoding the numbers right now would not lead to undiscovered problems in the future.

> I can guarantee you that school children will not use the CSUR to privately exchange data with their teachers.

No, you can't guarantee that. Certainly Tolkienists use the CSUR encoding for Tengwar now. Later they will migrate.

> I would also wager that a publisher like Chol Samaj, who already obviously has the ability to use the basic glyphs for page numbers, would see no value in a temporary unicode code-point.

They're most likely using local fonts where the numbers replace numbers and letters in a 200-character font.

>>> Typically, numbers are rectangular, so they'd tend to fit into the blocks above in positions 1, 3, or 9, respectively.
>> And atypically?
> My point is that there are many possibilities, so yes, thank you for emphasizing that.

Then numbers participate in complexity, and we're not ready to deal with that right now.

>> I have in the past looked more deeply at the encoding of Mayan hieroglyphs, and it will not be trivial.
> Again, we seem to be agreeing here.

Yes, which is why I won't support encoding a numeric subset without knowing what all the ramifications of that might be in a full-fledged encoding. I want there to be such an encoding. I hope to participate in work towards that. But now is not the time for it.

> To me, the more difficult it is to encode the writing system as a whole, the longer it will take; and so the more benefit we could get from encoding the numerals ahead of time.

As with Tengwar, you can get some benefit by using the PUA.

Michael Everson *
Received on Thu Aug 23 2012 - 14:29:04 CDT

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