Standaridized variation sequences for the Deseret alphabet?

Philippe Verdy verdy_p at
Thu Mar 23 07:26:43 CDT 2017

2017-03-23 6:54 GMT+01:00 Martin J. Dürst <duerst at>:

> Hello Michael, others,
> On 2017/03/23 09:03, Michael Everson wrote:
>> On 22 Mar 2017, at 21:39, David Starner <prosfilaes at> wrote:
> There's the same characters here, written in different ways.
>> No, it’s not. Its the same diphthong (a sound) written with different
>> letters.
> The closes to the current case that I was able to find was the German ß.
> It has roots in both an ss and an sz (to be precise, an ſs and an ſz)
> ligature (seeß). And indeed in some fonts,
> its right part looks more like an s, and in other fonts more like a z (and
> in lower case, more often like an s, but in upper case, much more like a
> (cursive) Z). Nevertheless, there is only one character (or two if you
> count upper case) encoded, because anything else would be highly confusing
> to virtually all users.

This is a good case for encoding explicit variants, including for the two
German ß, to distinguish letter forms in historic (medieval?) texts where
ſs and ſz were more distinguished. This does not require disuynification,
and fonts that can have both forms can choose the correct glyph to use for
each variant, and take a default form for the unified character depending
on the contextual language (if it is detected) or based on the font style
itself (if it was initially designed for a specific language, notably in
medieval styles).

> What is right for Deseret has to be decided by and for Deseret users,
> rather than by script historians.

In historic texts it is not clear which letter form is better than the
other, and historic Deseret was basically for a single language (but there
may have been regional variants prefering a form instead of the other). I
think that now the distinction is in fact more recent, where some eople
will want to distinguish them for new uses with dinstinctions. Here also a
variant encoding would solve these special cases but we should not disunify
the character (and in fact there's not a lot of fonts except for fancy
usages, such as trying to mimic handwritten styles for specific authors
about how they draw these shapes; I've not seen however any conclusive case
of distinction in typesetted texts).

In fact we are in a situation similar to the case of shapes for decimal
digits like 4 (open or closed), 7 (with an overstriking bar or none), or 0
(with an overstriking slash or dot, or none), 3 (with an angular or circle
top part), or letters like g (with a curled leg drawn counterclockwise, or
just a bottom foot from right to left: here a distinctive shape was encoded
for the IPA symbol)

> Regards,   Martin.
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