Re: Unicode is universal, so how come that universality doesn’t apply to digits?

Zach Lym indolering at
Sun Dec 20 13:55:53 CST 2020

I don't think it's fair to dismiss this as "not a unicode problem."  As the
OP pointed out, support for non-latin variable names is largely due to
Unicode's identity standard and extensive implementation advice.

The section on numbering (5.5) is only a page long and
essentially recommends handling decimal based numbering systems.  There
isn't nearly as much care given to this topic.  There is a standard annex
on mathematics, but that is in PDF form and is largely concerned with
parsing and display of mathematical formulas.

However, as is the answer to most questions, it is a matter of time and
money. If someone is willing to spend the time expanding 5.5 writing a new
annex, I am sure the Unicode committee would be happy to review it.  Would
you be interested in doing that legwork?

I'm actually pretty new here, what's the best way Roger could contribute to
make Unicode better in this regard?

-Zach Lym

On Wed, Dec 16, 2020 at 5:23 PM Mark E. Shoulson via Unicode <
unicode at> wrote:

> On 12/16/20 10:40 AM, Doug Ewell via Unicode wrote:
> What I don't understand here is why this is being framed implicitly as a Unicode problem, or an XML problem, or a general law of nature ("why can’t a Bengali-speaking person use the Bengali digits"), instead of an inherent limitation of that particular library function used for that particular language.
> Yes, exactly.  This is "a characteristic of the code libraries, not a
> Unicode problem."
> There are probably reasonable reasons not to update the actual atol/strtol
> calls, but one could certainly write a library to do what you're talking
> about... and apparently someone has, by Bill Poser's report of his
> libuninum.  There ya go.
> ~mark
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