Re: Mayan numerals

From: Michael Everson <>
Date: Thu, 23 Aug 2012 23:27:52 +0100

On 23 Aug 2012, at 22:40, Asmus Freytag wrote:

> I think Jameson makes a case that there is a part of Mayan that doesn't fit the standard model of an ancient script that is being encoded (merely) to further the work of specialists working on it.
> The use he claims that the digits receive in elementary school education makes these separate from the rest of the script. While they may be related to the ancient numbers, their current use is essentially modern and living.

They're already using it without Unicode, so why not let them keep doing what they are doing until we are ready to do a proper job.

> Given that usage, Jameson is correct in that using a PUA encoding (CSUR or otherwise) is a non-starter as is being put off for 5, 10, or 20 years until the full script is deciphered.

Tengwar has been in the CSUR since 1993 and people have been using it without

The Mayan script, Asmus, HAS been deciphered. It is not ready for encoding. Those are two different things.

> The correct solution here would be a proposal for encoding what amounts to a "modern representation of Mayan digits", which then would have no tie in with the encoding of the ancient script itself.

So we end up with two different encodings for Mayan numbers? I'm not tempted.

> Having a duplicate encoding for "modern" and "ancient" Mayan digits isn't problematical on any level.

Apart from the needless duplication.

> The code space needed is "minitesimal"


> and, as Mayan as a full script does not see living use, and as the digits even where used in modern context are not the primary number system, the practical issues of any duplication are non-existent.

Apart from the duplication.

> Mayan scholars and encoding experts may later decide that a duplication isn't necessary and re-use these "modern representations" as part of the encoding for the ancient system. But that's neither here nor there as far as the use case presented by Jameson is concerned.

Frankly this is all moot, as I don't believe any National Bodies are going to support this in SC2.

Michael Everson *
Received on Thu Aug 23 2012 - 17:29:12 CDT

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