Re: Mayan numerals

From: Jameson Quinn <>
Date: Thu, 23 Aug 2012 15:48:36 -0600

*>>> 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 never said the numbers do not participate in that complexity. In fact, I
explicitly brought up several ways that they do. What I said was, the
numbers are used by a significant population, today, who should not have to
wait for the Mayanists to get their act together.

If we encode the numerals now, then once the script is eventually fully
encoded, one of several things will happen:

   - We will have (through responsible forethought) guessed right on the
   metadata, and the pre-encoded numerals will be usable as-is in the general
   - We will have guessed wrong on the metadata, but in a way that can be
   retroactively fixed with zero impact to any existing document which doesn't
   contain non-numeric Mayan.
   - We will have guessed wrong on the metadata, and the decision is made
   that a retroactive fix is the best solution, given that it (say) impacts
   only documents which mix Mongolian with Mayan numerals.
   - We will have guessed wrong on the metadata, but anyway need to encode
   multiple versions of the number glyphs, so having used up 20 codepoints for
   modern users of the Mayan numerals is no big loss.
   - We will have guessed wrong, and will end up with 2 versions of each
   numeral glyph, a "modern use" and a "precolumbian style" version.

I think the latter 2 possibilities are both acceptable and unlikely. Am I
wrong? If so, why?

Received on Thu Aug 23 2012 - 16:50:41 CDT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0 : Thu Aug 23 2012 - 16:50:41 CDT