NamesList, Code Charts, ISO/IEC 10646

From: <>
Date: Fri, 17 Apr 2015 19:08:24 +0200 (CEST)


there seems to be a mistake with character names. In fact they are designations, and they are handled a such. The goal of a character’s name is to give an accurate idea of what the character is, and to facilitate referring to in natural language. As an immutable identifier there is the code point. Systems handle code points, not character names. Software does not need any other identifier.

This is why freezing character names is an abuse, especially when they proved to be wrong. There is a very strong desire to design most accurate names, which lead to passionate discussions at the merger of ISO/IEC 10646 with Unicode. But the renaming of U+00C6/U+00E6 to its original letter status produced surprisingly a name-update prohibition act, a Stability Policy that extends over names instead of ensuring code point stability only. Suddenly, character names were called by ISO “convenient identifiers”, not more. And not less.

Fortunately Unicode found a workaround, giving characters that are completely misnamed, a Formal Alias, thanks to which Formal Alias aware software is able to display a true designation in most cases. Unfortunately, the remedy is not applied to characters such as U+002F SOLIDUS, a slash that bears the scholar name of the fraction slash (U+2044 FRACTION SLASH may be called with some reason a solidus). And even more unfortunately, there would be fare too many Formal Aliases if all the abusive lateralization of bidi-mirrored paired punctuations would be corrected. Even out of bidirectional context, the “LEFT” qualifier is unfitting for U+2018 and U+201C in a Universal Character Set.

UnicodeData shows clearly where most of the awkward names are from. Or, more accurately, where they are NOT from. By misnaming characters in an ethnocentric way, ISO acted against its mission as an international standards body. It is obvious an international organization for standardization must respect its members’ wishes. And when one of the countries complains about misnaming, it must correct and apologize, not rage and protest. Nor prohibit further updates.

Therefore I suggest doing some general overhaul. Beginning with the Stability Policy.

As to avoid lateralization where it is undue, LEFT and RIGHT may be replaced with the original OPENING and CLOSING where it is unambiguous, or with BACKWARD-POINTING and FORWARD-POINTING.

Best regards,
Received on Fri Apr 17 2015 - 12:11:38 CDT

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