Re: Mayan numerals

From: Mark E. Shoulson <>
Date: Thu, 23 Aug 2012 19:45:56 -0400

On 08/23/2012 06:27 PM, Michael Everson wrote:
> 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.

That's a chicken-and-egg argument. By such reasoning, why encode ANY
new scripts? They're all scraping by somehow already, aren't they (and
you can be sure they are, if only by font tricks and transliterating.)
I don't feel that is an argument worthy of consideration at all.

>> 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

Almost a good counter-example. Tengwar has every right to have been
encoded long since. Why should Mayan suffer because committees seem to
drag their feet on fiction-related scripts?

>> 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.

Yes. That's what Asmus is proposing. It doesn't sound too awful to me
either, but here there is certainly room for debate. Just how bad would
the duplication be? Discuss.

>> The code space needed is "minitesimal"
> Irrelevant.

Maybe not show-stoppingly deciding, but not irrelevant. If the code
space needed were large, you can bet your buttons that would be seen as
strong point against encoding.

Received on Thu Aug 23 2012 - 18:47:07 CDT

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