Standaridized variation sequences for the Desert alphabet?

Michael Everson everson at
Mon Mar 27 11:49:48 CDT 2017

On 27 Mar 2017, at 15:04, Alastair Houghton <alastair at> wrote:

> 1. Unicode has to be usable *today*; it’s no good designing for some kind of hyper-intelligent AI-based font technology a thousand years hence, because we don’t have that now.  If it isn’t usable today for any given purpose, people won’t use it for that, and will adopt alternative solutions (like using images to represent text).

Nothing’s easier than representing encoded characters. :-) 

> 2. “This year’s electronic font technology” is actually quite powerful, and is unlikely to be supplanted by something *less* powerful in future.  There is an argument about exactly how widespread support for it is (for instance, simple text editors are clearly lacking in support for stylistic alternates, except possibly on the Mac where there’s built-in support in the standard text edit control), but again I think it’s reasonable to expect support to grow over time, rather than being removed.

Sorry, but typographic control of that sort is grand for typesetting, where you can select ranges of text and language-tag it (assuming your program accepts and supports all the language tags you might need (which they don’t)) and you can select fonts which have all the trickery baked into them (hardly any do) and then… can you use this in file names? In your plain-text databases? In your text messages?

> I don’t think it’s unreasonable, then, to point out that mechanisms like stylistic or contextual alternates exist, or indeed for that knowledge to affect a decision about whether or not a character should be encoded, *bearing in mind* the likely direction of travel of font and text rendering support in widely available operating systems.

They exist. And can be useful for some things. I think that historic origin of the Deseret diphthong letters and the importance these options have for the study of Deseret orthographic choices throughout the early period of its use.

> All that said, I’d definitely defer to others on the subject of whether or not Unicode needs the Deseret characters being discussed here.  That’s very much not my field.

Michael Everson

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