RE: ASCII as a subset of Unicode (was: Re: Oxford proposes a leaner alphabet)

From: Don Osborn (
Date: Sun Apr 12 2009 - 08:06:20 CDT

  • Next message: Jim Allan: "Re: ASCII as a subset of Unicode"

    Veering slightly offtopic here: ASCII (as characters) has also entered the lexicon, if you will, as a way of describing Basic Latin in a computing context. In this expansion of usage, it is also found as an adjective, a derived verb, and noun derived from that verb. For example:


    ASCII orthography

    ASCII transcription

    ASCII transliteration

    ASCII alphabet

    ASCIIfy (meaning to convert either complex text into ASCII characters, or artwork/designs into "ASCII art" using ASCII characters [within whatever encoding - Unicode, 8859-1 …]; I suppose it could also refer to changing the encoding to ASCII as well)



    None of this is news to folks on this list, but I'd be curious to know if anyone has tracked this phenomenon and written anything about it. I.e., the interaction of character sets associated with particular encoding schemes and what people do with text and how they refer to it.





    From: [] On Behalf Of Mark Davis
    Sent: Saturday, April 11, 2009 9:05 PM
    To: Doug Ewell
    Cc: Unicode Mailing List
    Subject: Re: ASCII as a subset of Unicode (was: Re: Oxford proposes a leaner alphabet)


    I agree. One needs to distinguish the ASCII characters from the ASCII encoding scheme.


    The ASCII characters are represented in Unicode at codepoints U+0000..U+007F. The ASCII encoding scheme represents these as bytes %00..%7F, as does the UTF-8 encoding scheme. Other encoding schemes, like EBCDIC CCSID 500, may use different byte sequences for the ASCII characters.


    On Sat, Apr 11, 2009 at 14:54, Doug Ewell <> wrote:

    Hans Aberg <haberg at math dot su dot se> wrote:

    I continue to believe the difference between "ASCII characters" and "Unicode characters" is analogous to the difference between "flutes" and "musical instruments."

    Well, what is the mathematical or computer definition of "flutes" and "musical instruments"?


    "Analogous." Flutes and musical instruments are not mathematical or computer concepts. The common definition of a flute, however, is that it is a particular type of musical instrument.

    Let me try a different approach. What do you believe is the difference between an ASCII "A" and a Unicode "A" -- not the bitwise representations permitted by ASCII and Unicode respectively, but the characters themselves?

    Doug Ewell  *  Thornton, Colorado, USA  *  RFC 4645  *  UTN #14  ˆ

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