Tengwar on a general purpose translation site

Mark E. Shoulson mark at kli.org
Wed Mar 9 19:25:48 CST 2022

I sort of have to agree with Ken here (hey, it happens.)  What makes 
Unicode an encoding of *characters*, what makes U+0041 mean LATIN 
CAPITAL LETTER A, is that Unicode says that's what it is. In the name, 
yes, but the name isn't dispositive (there are misnamed characters); the 
rest of the standard also counts.  It's LATIN CAPITAL LETTER A, and not 
just UNICODE CHARACTER 0041. Unless the standard stipulates, in the 
actual character names or out of them, that codepoint XXX01 really 
corresponds to TENGWAR LETTER TINCO, then, well, it might as well just 
be UNICODE CHARACTER XXX01 or as Ken says, <private-use F0001>.

Also, although everyone seems focussed on the glyphs, I think that 
really isn't the issue.  If I somehow invented an entirely new and 
original set of glyphs for Klingon, and somehow got them retroactively 
canonized and used and all that stuff (or to put it another way, if I 
invented or held the copyright on the glyph forms), I don't think 
Unicode would be any more comfortable about encoding KLINGON LETTER A or 
even PIQAD LETTER A than they are now.  It's not about the pictures, and 
Unicode doesn't encode glyphs.  Encoding Tengwar is or maybe is felt to 
be... doing *something* sortakinda related to IP owned by the Tolkien 
estate, and that's the sticking point.


On 3/9/22 13:57, Ken Whistler via Unicode wrote:
> On 3/9/2022 10:38 AM, James Kass via Unicode wrote:
>> Suppose a proposal works around any IP concerns, real or imaginary, 
>> by using generic character names along the lines of CJK ideographs. 
>> Such as:
>> and so forth.
>> The charts covering the ranges could be blank with a footnote 
>> explaining that the lack of glyphs is due to IP concerns.  The 
>> proposal could refer to earlier proposals for usage examples and the 
>> proposed range need not mention any author's name or copyrighted brands.
>> Would such a proposal have any chance of moving forward towards 
>> acceptance?
> Well, insofar as this is attempt to "encode" characters without 
> providing reference glyphs or names or any meaningful semantics, it 
> isn't much different from just using:
> U+F0001 <private-use-F0001>
> U+F0002 <private-use-F0002>
> ...
> I don't see the UTC going for this kind of pseudo-private-use concept. 
> The whole point of *standardizing* characters is to spell out 
> precisely what they are so that interchange is reliable.
> --Ken

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