Re: Relationship between Unicode and 10646

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Tue Nov 30 2004 - 16:22:18 CST

  • Next message: Sarasvati: "Re: Relationship between Unicode and 10646"

    From: "Peter Kirk" <>
    > On 30/11/2004 19:53, John Cowan wrote:
    >>Your main misunderstanding seems to be your belief that WG2 is a
    >>democratic body; that is, that it makes decisions by majority vote. ...
    > Thank you, John. This was in fact my question: will the amendment be
    > passed automatically if there is a majority in favour, or does it go back
    > for further discussion until a consensus is reached? You have clarified
    > that the latter is true. And I am glad to hear it.

    Probably, the WG2 will now consider alternatives to examine how Phoenician
    can be represented. The current proposal may be voted "no" for other reasons
    that just a formal opposition against the idea of encoding it as a separate
    script, possibly because the proposal is still incomplete, or does not
    resolve significant issues, or does not help making Phoenician texts better
    worked with computers...

    Ther may exist arguments caused by the difficulties to treat several
    variations of Phoenician, or possibly a misrepresentation of what the new
    script is supposed to cover (given that Phoenician is itself at the
    connecting node of separate scripts, and may cause specific difficulties
    when some variations are occuring in direction to the future Greek or Hebrew
    or Arabic scripts).

    If the script itself is not well delimited, there's no reason to encode it,
    but preferably to approach it from one of the existing branches. How the
    various branches will converge to the original script may cause lots of
    unresolved questions, and other more complex problems if Phoenician is not
    the root of the tree and as other predecessors.

    So may be it's too soon to encode Phoenician now, given that its immediate
    successors are still not encoded, and a formal model for them is still

    In addition, there may already several alternatives for its representation,
    with too strong and antogonist arguments from either Ellenists or Semitists,
    that have adopted distinct models for the same origin text, based on the
    models they have established for its successors.

    So there's possibly a need to reconciliate (unify) these models, even if
    this requires encoding some "well-identified" letters with distinct codes,
    depending on their future semantic evolutions, or the set of variants they
    should cover.

    My opinion, is that Semitists are satisfied today when handling Phoenician
    text as if it was a historic variant Hebrew, and Ellenists satisfied as if
    it was a historic variant of Greek (which itself could be written
    alternatively as RTL or LTR or boustrophedon).

    A way to reconciliate those approaches can consist in a transliteration
    scheme. So until such a working transliteration scheme is created, that will
    specify the matching rules, it may be hard to define prematurely the set of
    letters needed for representing Phoenician texts.

    My view does not exclude a future encoding of Phoenician, to avoid constant
    transliterations for the same texts, but for now the need to do it now is
    not justified, and not urgent.

    In the interim, fonts can be built for Phoenicians according to the encoding
    of Hebrew, or according to the encoding of Greek, and this can fit with the
    respective works performed by the two categories of searchers.

    Now if both agree on the same set of base letters and variants, they could
    create a more definitive set of representative letters and variants, and
    formulate a future proposal for a separate script encoding, from which an
    easy transliteration scheme from legacy Hebrew or Greek will be possible.

    What do you think of this answer?

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