a character for an unknown character

Asmus Freytag asmusf at ix.netcom.com
Wed Dec 28 21:05:17 CST 2016

On 12/28/2016 5:47 PM, Richard Wordingham wrote:
> On Tue, 27 Dec 2016 21:33:32 -0800
> Asmus Freytag <asmusf at ix.netcom.com> wrote:
>> When it comes to marks (or symbols) of less generic or more complex
>> shapes, the
>> presumption that the mark only has "one" shape may be more common,
>> and examples of the mark
>> being repurposed may be less common.  Not being as common, fewer
>> readers will
>> recognize all stylistic variations as being "the same thing". A
>> variant form will be more
>> likely to be understood as a related, but not identical symbol. That
>> in turn fuels the
>> misperception that Unicode somehow encodes symbols based on a single
>> conventional usage.
> The idea of a single conventional usage is also fuelled by a number of
> practices and policies:
> 1) A letter belongs to a single script (not to be confused with
> writing system)
Making or not making that distinction makes some stuff easier and other 
harder to support in software. Overall, I think Unicode got this one right.
> 2) Distinction of punctuation and modifier letters, e.g. the highly
> confusing distinction between U+2019 RIGHT SINGLE QUOTATION MARK and

I'm beginning to thing that 02BC is closer to a mistake than a correct 
there are places where it has to be treated on the same footing as 2019 
though the idea was to give it different properties.

> 3) The resolution of U+002D HYPHEN-MINUS into U+2010 HYPHEN, U+2212
> MINUS SIGN and a few minor punctuation marks
HYPHEN-MINUS is a bad example, because it's a conflation of several
quite distinct elements of type a single key for purposes of type writers.

> 4) Distinction between decimal digits and letters
> 5) The nightmare of spacing single and double dots.
?  spacing vs. combining? Not sure what you mean.
> Ideal solutions can also be defeated by limited keyboard layouts.  As a
> result, I have no idea whether the singular of "fithp" (one of Larry
> Niven's alien species) should be spelt with U+02BC or U+2019, though in
> ASCII I can just write "fi'".

The only place where "uni" doesn't apply in Unicode is that there's 
never just
a single principle that applies, but always multiple ones that are in 
tension --- and in
the edge cases, the tension can be felt keenly.

> Richard.

More information about the Unicode mailing list