Re: Mayan numerals

From: Marion Gunn <>
Date: Fri, 24 Aug 2012 13:05:47 +0100

The combined argument of both ancient and current use together is the
strongest, most comnpelling of arguements in favour of encloding Mayan
characters (whether as a full or partial collection shouldn't really
matter, the only thing that matters is to serve the current and urgent
need of users, once proven, as I believe it has been this week).

As an Irishwoman, I remember the time-wasting obstacles placed in our
path when we were building up the support needed to support our ancient
script (still in use today) encoded. In that work of national interest,
we were supported by other countries and by independent experts with
nothing to gain for themselves. Therefore, as one of Ireland's
representatives in ISO (where the ISO 10646 International Standard
corresponds to the Unicode standard), I'd like to assure Mr. Quinn that
my country's national body (NSAI) will look favourably on his proposal —
that is, if Ireland's representatives get a chance to debate it as a
group and then take a vote on it without outside pressure!
Unfortunately, it is possible that acceptance or rejection of any such
proposal couldl be decided by perhaps only one or two people then pushed
through certain vulnerable National Bodies, such as ours, as a decision
"required by Unicode" (rather than by consensus amongst independent
national members of national bodies).

I am copying this msg to some other Irish representatives because so
many votes on such proposals are bypassing the general rule of national
and then international consensus, presumably on the grounds that Unicode
is not obliged to conform to ISO protocols. Usually, people like us
don't complain about being bypased by Unicode agents, but I would hate
to see Mr. Quinn defeated by default, if there is anything we can do to
help (as ordinary NSAI members not in any way obligated or affiliated to
the Unicode Consortium, but supportive of its more useful decsions).

To strengthen his hand, Mr Quinn might be well advised to ask his own
National Body for accreditation as an ISO representative for himself and
some friends, so as to participate directly, as an interest group,
through normal ISO channels (I recommend this because decisions taken in
re ISO 10646 by a majority vote of participating countries must become
part of Unicode). If his country does not already have National Body
participation in ISO, this is not such a great difficulty, as that
should be easy to arrange, especially with its own national interest at

I hope this helps,

Scríobh 22/08/2012 20:00, Asmus Freytag:
> On 22 Aug 2012, at 18:05, Jameson Quinn wrote:
>>> I understand that from a professional Mayanist perspective, having
>>> glyphs for just the numbers without even the dates or any of the
>>> rest isn't attractive. And I also understand that in real
>>> petroglyphs, 1 and 2 (for instance) usually look more like ∪•∪ and
>>> •∪• than like the simplified • and •• that I'd suggest for the
>>> basic glyphs. But I can say confidently that there are audiences who
>>> would use these glyphs, certainly more than a lot of what's in Unicode.
> This is beginning to look like there might be a case for a set of
> characters for Mayan digits in modern use, and to just separate them
> from the script.
> Also in light of what we learned about their use in education. That's
> not "scholarly" use, which is the usual bench mark for how to encode
> ancient scripts.
> A./

Marion Gunn * eGteo (Estab.1991)
27 Páirc an Fhéithlinn, Baile an
Bhóthair, An Charraig Dhubh,
Co. Átha Cliath, Éire/Ireland.
* * *
Received on Fri Aug 24 2012 - 07:09:21 CDT

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