Unicode Digest, Vol 35, Issue 16

Philippe Verdy verdy_p at wanadoo.fr
Sun Nov 20 11:50:18 CST 2016

2016-11-20 12:14 GMT+01:00 IS META <ismeta.wikt at gmail.com>:

> Dear William Overington,
> Your abstract emoji are interesting. I am especially pleased that your *noun
> brown* emoji express a number of grammatical cases. However, your *Some
> designs for emoji of personal pronouns* is less flexible, wherein the
> pronouns can only express singular and plural grammatical numbers. Is there
> any chance that the system may be modified to enable the expression of dual
> grammatical number? Though the dual number is rarer than the
> singular–plural distinction, it occurs in many languages, including major
> ones like Classical Greek, Sanskrit, and Modern Standard Arabic, and it is
> far more widespread in pronominal systems. Perhaps the way American Sign
> Language expresses the dual number could provide some inspiration for this.

For such graphical notations, there's absolutely no need to distinguish
singular and plural (many Asian languages do not have distinctive
grammatical numbers): if the numal quantity is important, it should just be
represented directly by its value (e.g. by showing hands with a number of
fingers raised), but most probably by using digits directly).

On the opposite I think it is much more important to be able to designate
the 1st person speaking, and if she speaks for herself or in the noun of a
group, the person(s) to she is speaking to (either directly, as as the
representant of a group, but this could be a separate "privately" or
"alone" attribute), and a generic undesignated/umpersonal 3rd person not
designating anyone (he/she/it/they), possiblyt with an additional attribute
(a number? an adjective for "near" versus "far", like in the distinction of
"this" and "that" or "here" and "there' in English, or "left" vs."right",
or "front" vs. "back") to distinguish several entities.

But once again this discussion is about a long personal invention by
William, that attempts since long to push it as a "standard", when he is
actually alone and not qualified alone to be an academic source
representing an active community, and whre he never demonstrated the
existance of any active community supporting his "inventions" (often
self-contradictory and constantly changing) :

In other words it is out of scope for the Unicode standard.

Emojis are definitely NOT used in the world the way that William thinks.
William is in fact inventing since long another script (which has nothing
in copmmon with Emojis) but has not been able to conveince a community to
use and support it. Borrowing Emojis inside his personnaly invented script
does not mean that Emojis are part of William's script.

But there's a very active community using Emojis (notably in Japan), and
with active support by local providers of communication channels, that
developed initially separate incompatible solutions before thinking about
standardizing their usage using a common agreed set (because their users
wanted interoperability across providers and urged them to use comatible
schemes, without loosing their freedom to use Emojis like they want, i.e.
without any strong "grammatical" rules)

However there's much more promizing scripts to think about, notably
SignWriting (but hre also some Emojis could be borrowed, this does not mean
that Emojis are full part of SignWriting, just like they are not directly
part of Han signograms, or Kanas, or Latin) !

Emojis are and will remain a specific script that will never be able to
express a full human language, only some small isolated items whose
interpretation will remain very fuzzy, and with an extremely minimalist
grammar and an minimalist orthography (the "ligature" clusters documented
in Unicode), so that they can be used in various languages having very
different grammars or conceptual models: the interpretation of emojis are
left to readers in some linguistic, territorial, cultural, or social
community, that DON'T want any strong grammar: they really love the freedom
of speech and composition offered by Emojis, and certainly don't want such
grammar !

So please keep William's proposed (unsupported) script completely out of
way of the encoding of Emojis that are and will remain isolate symbols,
with minimal interactions among themselves or with other scripts. I also
note that Emojis that **should** all have neutral directionality, and
should all be mirrorable where approriate (so that they'll be usable in LTR
or RTL contexts), unless they explicitly express the "left" vs "right
semantics (but they could also express the "start" vs. "end" semantic that
MUST be mirorrable, and possibly even "rotatable" in vertical script
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