Terms for rotations

Ilya Zakharevich nospam-abuse at ilyaz.org
Mon Nov 10 16:01:09 CST 2014

On Mon, Nov 10, 2014 at 06:30:37PM +0000, Whistler, Ken wrote:
> > Could the characters SWR2 to SWR8 be applied to chess symbols or should
> > new rotation modifiers be created for them?
> They aren't currently defined to do so -- and there is certainly a danger in
> opening up the applicability to other sets of symbols, as that would start
> down the road of trying to turn them into generic rotation mechanisms.
> I'm inclined here to trust Garth's assessment that for a relatively small
> set of rotated chess symbols, the simpler solution is just to enumerate
> the set of rotated forms needed for these odd chess notations as
> unitary symbols. I just wanted to make sure that the precedent for
> SignWriting was part of the consideration, given the fact that
> a notation involving rotation of symbols was the topic.

  Sorry, I had no time (and no clear way to express things) when what
  I’m going to write could have been more relevant — anyway, this is
  about SignWriting.

I consider the precedent of SignWriting as an especially bad model to
become a base for other encodings of extensive collections — and not
since it uses “many mechanisms”, but FEW mechanisms.  I think that the
same functionality could have been implemented using a tiny handful of
new characters — while making the encoded SignWriting text readable
EVEN WITHOUT SPECIAL FONTS and/or shaping engines.

See, for example, the Mr Potato Head font
; using the same principles, one could encode most (all?) of the hand
symbols as
   SignWriting FACE STARTER CHARACTER + upper/lower-script modifiers
For example, hand with fingers 1,2 extended, 3,4 crossed, and 5 bent
halfway could have been encoded as

A specialized font would show the needed glyph.  Without a specialized
font, one could see a representation which allows one able to
visualize the shape — and, at least, see a certain distinctive
As far as I checked (about 60% into the SignWriting proposal) this
approach would enable all of SignWriting functionality with about 10
base characters needed.  As for rotation modifiers, we already have 24
(?) clock face symbols — and they allow granularity of 15° when
specifying the rotation.


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