Re: Mayan numerals (again)

From: Marion Gunn <>
Date: Mon, 01 Jul 2013 15:40:14 +0100

I also remember your proposal, Jameson, which I believe to be worthwhile
and urgently needed by the community of users you described at that time
(whether the full discussion following on your sending your proposal to
'Unicode List' <> has been preserved for reference in
the archives of this list, I can not say for certain, though I would
hope and expect that it has). As to procedures, all I can add of help to
the last line of Fréderic's msg (below) of today, is that my best guess
(from long observation of transactions on this and related lists
spanning a couple of decades)— my best guess is that the only sure way
is to succeed with any proposal put to Unicode is to the right insiders
on your side, that is, people to whom Unicode pays attention, because
the substance of your proposal, however valid and whatever its practical
merit for your user community, is most unlikely to gain success unless
you can recruit the personal support of private individuals/companies
with influence in/over Unicode, which you may be able to work out for
yourself by observing such e-mails as surface publicly here.

I wish you every success, because I believe you deserve that.

Scríobh 24/06/2013 09:26, Frédéric Grosshans:
> Le 23 juin 2013 21:37, "Jameson Quinn" <
> <>> a écrit :
> >
> > Last year, I started a discussion about proposing the Mayan numerals
> for inclusion in Unicode. Several people on the list supported this
> idea, and encouraged me to submit a proposal. I did not manage to do
> so last year, but I am ready to now.
> >
> > I have access to dozens of different books with their page numbers,
> tables of contents, and publication dates in mayan numerals. Several
> of them use the numerals in other ways, such as numbered lists or
> century numbers (ie, "siglo 16", 16th century, with 16 in Mayan
> numbers). All of these are from a single publishing house, and I know
> of 2 other publishers who use similar practices. None of the samples I
> have are textbooks, and it is common for math textbooks here in
> Guatemala to have a section on Mayan numerals, typically with a few
> simple addition problems or the like.
> The more diverse your examples are, the better. By the way, I recall
> the post I wrote last year with examples of those numerals in
> non-Mayan precolumbian context :
> I really think these examples strengthen the case for encoding these
> numerals before and separately from the Mayan glyphs. The encoding of
> the Mayan writing system will be a complex endeavour, and the
> encoding model clearly cannot be chosen now. This means that the
> numerals you propose may or may not be used a few years (decades ?)
> down the line, for the encoding of Mayan. If they are "naturally"
> useful for other scripts, it's not an unsolvable problem. If they are
> only for Mayan writing, it is a show stopper.
> That's also why I think that "Mesoamerican bar and dots numerals" are
> a better name than "Mayan numerals".
> >
> > The publisher of the books I have is interested, and would probably
> sign on to my proposal, though it would take about a month for them to
> get full consensus on this.
> A month is quite short compared to the typical encoding delay (a few
> years). And you can submit their support letter separately from your
> proposal.
> >
> > I can also provide photos of Guatemalan currency notes, which have
> mayan as well as arabic numerals on them.
> >
> > I'd like to propose 40 glyphs: the vertical and horizontal versions
> of the digits 0-19. The zero glyph would be in it's "shell" form; the
> several minor variants of this form would be considered as the same
> base glyph.
> Ok
> >This initial proposal would not include head variants or the
> petroglyphic "flower" zero, nor would it include petroglyphic marginal
> decorations on the glyphs for 1, 6, 11, and 16, as all of those are
> generally used in a context of fully glyphic writing, which has a
> number of difficult technical issues to resolve before it's ready for
> unicode. (Although I could provide at least one modern example of a
> glyphic text; this is at least to some degree a living art today,
> though it was dead for centuries.)
> To me these examples are part of the real Mayan writing system and
> will have to wait at least until the encoding model of Mayan is
> decided (ie a long time)
> >
> > I'd like to know what should be my next step, and if anyone who's
> more experienced with unicode procedures would like to advise me more
> closely.
> I'd be interested to wprk with you on this proposal, but you should
> know that, contrarily to man6 readers of this list, I have no
> experience in Unicode procedures beyond what I could guess by reading
> archived proposals available on Internet.
> Frédéric Grosshans

Marion Gunn * eGteo (Estab.1991)
27 Páirc an Fhéithlinn, Baile an
Bhóthair, An Charraig Dhubh,
Co. Átha Cliath, Éire/Ireland.
* * *
Received on Mon Jul 01 2013 - 09:48:40 CDT

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