Why incomplete subscript/superscript alphabet ?

Martin Mueller martinmueller at northwestern.edu
Wed Oct 5 01:35:52 CDT 2016

There is always a lot more history than reason in the world. That said, given that alphabets have fixed numbers, it’s weird that bits of super and subscripted letters appear in this or that limited range but that you can’t cobble a whole alphabet together in a consistent manner. If any , why not all, especially if there are only two or three dozen.

On 10/4/16, 11:27 PM, "Unicode on behalf of Martin J. Dürst" <unicode-bounces at unicode.org on behalf of duerst at it.aoyama.ac.jp> wrote:

    On 2016/10/04 19:35, Marcel Schneider wrote:
    > On Mon, 3 Oct 2016 13:47:09 -0700, Asmus Freytag (c) wrote:
    >> Later, the beta and gamma were encoded for phonetic notation, but not the
    >> alpha.
    >> As a result, you can write basic formulas for select compounds, but not all.
    >> Given that these basic formulae don't need full 2-D layout, this still seems
    >> like an arbitrary restriction.
    > When itʼs about informatics, arbitrary restrictions are precisely what gets me
    > upset. Those limitations are—as I wrote the other day—a useless worsening
    > of the usability and usefulness of a product.
    This kind of "let's avoid arbitrary limitations" argument works very 
    well for subjects that are theoretical, straightforward, and rigid in 
    nature. Many (but not all) subjects in computer science (informatics) 
    are indeed of such a nature.
    The Unicode Consortium (or more specifically, the UTC) does a lot of 
    hard work to create theories where appropriate, and to explain them 
    where possible. But they recognize (and we should do so, too) that in 
    the end, writing is a *cultural* phenomenon, where straightforward, 
    rigid theories have severe limitations.
     From a certain viewpoint (the chemist's in the example above), the 
    result may look arbitrary, but from another viewpoint (the 
    phoneticist's), it looks perfectly fine. At first, it looks like it 
    would be easy to fix such problems, but each fix risks to introduce new 
    arbitrariness when seen from somebody else's viewpoint. Getting upset 
    won't help.
    Regards,    Martin.

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