Standaridized variation sequences for the Desert alphabet?

Michael Everson everson at
Sun Mar 26 15:51:43 CDT 2017

On 26 Mar 2017, at 21:39, Asmus Freytag <asmusf at> wrote:

>> Come on, Doug. The letter W is a ligature of V and V. But sure, the glyphs are only informative, so why don’t we use an OO ligature instead?
> If there was a tradition of writing W like omega, then switching the chart glyphs to that alternative tradition would be something that is at least not inconceivable -- even if perhaps not advisable.

You know, Asmus, no analogy is perfect. But mine was a discussion of letters derived from ligatures, and yours is just a random note about shape. 

> For letters, their primary identity is not given by their shape, but their position / function in the alphabet.

This isn’t really something you can turn into an axiom, much as you would like to. Position in the alphabet may very WIDELY from language to language. As can function. The Latin letter c can mean /k s tʃ ts ʔ ʃ θ/… 

> That's why making Gaelic style and Fraktur a font switch works at all, even if that is not perfect (viz, ligatures in Fraktur).

Font style isn’t the same thing in this context. The historical letters used to make the 1855 ligatures are *different* letters than those used for the 1859 ligatures. 

> In the Deseret case, making this alternation a font choice would tend to preserve the content of all documents.

No, since it’s a question of *spelling*. Some documents use a ligature-letter for the diphthong /juː/. Some documents use two separate letters for the same diphthong. So there’s no “standardized” spelling that works for all text that would be affected here. (Spelling for English wasn’t standardized anyway in historical Deseret texts and there is much variety.)

> Making this an encoding difference would indeed invalidate some documents.

Right now the 1859 characters aren’t representable. Deciding to change the chart glyphs to 1859 glyphs would just destabilize EVERY current Deseret font. That’s not something we should do. 

> Finally, if this was in major, modern use, adding these code points would have grave consequences for security.

Why? They’re not visually similar to the existing characters. So spoofing wouldn’t be an issue. 

Michael Everson

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