Re: Mayan numerals

From: Michael Everson <>
Date: Mon, 27 Aug 2012 00:46:12 +0100

On 27 Aug 2012, at 00:21, Richard Wordingham wrote:

> We do where the properties necessitate, e.g. U+0241 LATIN CAPITAL LETTER GLOTTAL STOP and U+0294 LATIN LETTER GLOTTAL STOP,

Those are not duplicate characters. There is a case-pairing glottal stop and a non-casing glottal stop. That is a functional difference.

> or the NEW TAI LUE and TAI THAM scripts.

These are not duplicate scripts. (And no, I'm not interested in debating this with you.)

> We also have the principal of the separation of scripts.

I do not think it is wise to encode some "neo-Mayan" number system because some magazines have used them decoratively in foliation or because some school-children spend a cultural week or two doing Mayan maths before getting back to regular decimal algebra and geometry. That is not a sufficient usage scenario to rush forward with an encoding.

I believe that it would be prudent to avoid encoding these numbers until the entire script has been examined properly.

Preliminary work I did in 1998 on Mayan turned up nearly 1200 characters. 44 of these were calendrical. 20 were numeric. It would be foolish to risk a mistaken encoding of this important script in a rush to encode 5% of the whole just because that 5% *seems* to someone to be "safe". He doesn't know if it's safe or not.

We owe it to Mayan civilization past and present to do a proper job here.

Michael Everson *
Received on Sun Aug 26 2012 - 18:49:19 CDT

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