Difference between Klingon and Tengwar

Mark E. Shoulson mark at kli.org
Tue Sep 14 18:41:04 CDT 2021

On 9/14/21 7:18 PM, Ken Whistler via Unicode wrote:
> On 9/14/2021 3:52 PM, Mark E. Shoulson via Unicode wrote:
>> Which I guess brings things back full-circle.  If the reason for 
>> 87-M3 is no longer valid, why refuse to rescind it?
> Well, the short answer is that "removing the stigma on Klingon" is 
> apparently not a sufficient priority for most UTC participants for 
> them to bother with it. Plus, some people will worry that formally 
> rescinding a notice of non-approval will be viewed precisely as what 
> you are intending it as: a signal that the UTC is getting ready to 
> consider encoding Klingon. Many would prefer to just let this sit 
> unless and until a case could be made that Klingon actually *is* ready 
> for encoding (and justified and IP-unencumbered).

*Sigh*.  I guess that's a fair answer, more's the pity.  I have fun 
mocking the decision with "Is Unicode really worried Paramount will sue 
them for not saying no?  Shouldn't they be careful to say no to all 
those other scripts out there?"  But it's true: rescinding rejection is 
not the same as not rejecting.

> In any case, my advice is to stop worrying about the status in the 
> roadmap, and work instead on making the convincing case for encoding. 
> I realize that honor is of high value in Klingon society, but it 
> doesn't actually figure that much in UTC decisions. ;-)

Tolkien scripts are roadmapped anymore either; it wasn't about the 
roadmap in the sense of being allocated a spot.  It's about not being 
NOT on the roadmap, which isn't the same.

>>> You aren't going to find a distinction by rooting around in the 
>>> structure of the scripts themselves looking for objective 
>>> differences, nor by trying to distinguish them by details of IP 
>>> claims. The issues that matter are found in the social and economic 
>>> contexts of the encoding activities of the committees and 
>>> standardizers.
>> Isn't that kind of embarrassing for an organization that 
>> claims/aspires to some measure of cultural neutrality and support for 
>> minority cultures?
> Hardly. It is basically a fact that character encoding is a human 
> activity engaged in by groups of people who are influenced by their 
> social and economic contexts. Failure to recognize that sometimes 
> flummoxes folks who don't understand why the committees make some of 
> the decisions they do, on occasion. But I don't see how you draw the 
> connection here immediately to concerns for cultural neutrality and 
> support for minority cultures.

In https://unicode.org/mail-arch/unicode-ml/y2016-m11/0086.html, Asmus 
writes about the original decision:

> PS: the "real" reason that Klingon was never put in the roadmap (as I 
> recall discussions in the early years) was not so much the question 
> whether IP issues existed/could be resolved, but the fear that adding 
> such an "invented" and "frivolous" script would undermine the 
> acceptance of Unicode.
which basically amounts to "we didn't want to be associated with those 
kinds of people/scripts."  Is that really an argument that a purportedly 
neutral organization could use?  Can you imagine if it had been said 
about Yezidi, or Adlam, or Mandombe?  That's what "social and economic 
contexts" sounded like; perhaps unfairly interpreted.


More information about the Unicode mailing list