Tengwar on a general purpose translation site

Doug Ewell doug at ewellic.org
Sun Mar 13 18:41:20 CDT 2022

Richard Wordingham wrote:

>>> Might there be a copyright protection on 20th century additions to
>>> the Cyrillic script that prohibits their use to bring the Russian
>>> government into disrepute?
>> That depends on what the attorneys retained by the Estate of the
>> Preslav Literary School have to say about it.
>> I guess this was a facetious question, but other than making a
>> comment about current events, I'm not sure what purpose it serves
>> with relation to Tolkien’s scripts.
> It's a possible case where untrammelled permission to use new letters
> may not have been given.

By whom? Nobody owns Cyrillic; nobody has claimed IP rights to it. It’s used to write several dozen languages. Russia has no more claim to it than the US or UK has to the Latin script.

> The description at https://www.evertype.com/standards/csur/tengwar.html
> implies that that tehta codepoints are applied to the previous
> consonant, which implies a visual order encoding, as opposed to the
> 2001 phonetic order encoding.  While a phonetic order encoding seems
> appealing for a language with two modes mostly differing as CV v. VC
> ligaturing, the scheme does seem to need language tagging for
> tolerable rendering.

That seems clear enough.

> Under the 2001 scheme, which proposes an encoding in the SMP, not in a
> PUA, the tehtar would merit being letters, just like the non-spacing

The section “Rendering” in the 2001 document seems to me to make the same statements about modes and tehtar as the CSUR proposal.

>> The Tengwar proposal, like many CSUR proposals (but unlike most “real”
>> Unicode proposals in recent years), lacks a list of Unicode properties
>> in UnicodeData.txt format. But in general, the distinction between an
>> “encoding” and a “provisional encoding” seems overly pedantic for
>> CSUR, which was always a fun, part-time project, and on which most
>> work ended almost 20 years ago.
> Nothing to do with interoperability, then?

All of us, including Unicode itself, have become more and more cognizant of the importance of properties to interoperability as time has passed and experience has been gained. CSUR originated in 1993, just a few years after Unicode 1.0 was released, and no, not all of the CSUR proposals cover as much ground with respect to interoperability as we would like, or as we would insist upon today. Remember how informal Unicode properties themselves were in the early days.

I do have a Unicode properties listing for my conscript, but it doesn’t appear in that script’s CSUR proposal. Of course, as we know now, UnicodeData.txt format isn’t ideal either, as it excludes several important properties and is hard for humans to read.

Doug Ewell, CC, ALB | Lakewood, CO, US | ewellic.org

More information about the Unicode mailing list