forum SignWriting List Forum
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From:  Michael Everson
Date:  Sat Aug 7, 1999  3:12 pm
Subject:  Re: Fwd: Re: SignWriting & Unicode

In June, Valerie said:

>One of the members of our SignWriting List is Michael Everson, from
>Dublin, Ireland. Michael works with Unicode, and I will be sending
>Michael a document of SignWriting symbols in the next few weeks, so that
>SignWriting can be placed into Unicode. It may take several years -
>but sooner or later it will happen.

Valerie has kindly sent me these materials, and it is just what I needed to
get to work.

>I know Michael is away on vacation now, so of course he is the expert on
>Unicode and Chinese, and I am just repeating what I understood - which
>is that Chinese is already successfully typed with Unicode right now - and
>I have spoken with some native Chinese speakers here in the USA who
>happen to be programmers, and they tell me they have typed Chinese with
>Unicode and that it works.

This is a little bit inaccurate, or rather imprecise. What the Universal
Character Set (Unicode or ISO/IEC 10646) is, is a collection of characters
used in the world's languages. Eventually everything should be there --
from Viking Runes to Bengali to Blissymbols to Chinese characters to
SignWriting. Visit my web site if you want to read a huge document on
encoding Egyptian Hieroglyphs.

"Typing" with Unicode is a little ambiguous. The UCS is a character set,
which is a big collection of characters (letters, numbers, signs, etc.). Of
course inputting methods are required, but these are INDEPENDENT of the
character set. Inputting methods access the character set. Right now on the
DOS SignWriting software (somebody _please_ port it to a Java app for us
Mac guys!) you have a input methods to access your character set. The same
input methods (or very similar ones) should be used when SignWriting gets
encoded in the UCS.

>So I am very impressed with that myself. And they also have a way to
>type heiroglyphics in Unicode I believe - so they have succeeded with
>developing keystrokes for typing writing systems that are not ASCII

Egyptian Hieroglyphs are not yet encoded in the UCS. There is good Mac and
PC software used by Egyptologists which has a table-based inputting method.
Interestingly, SignWriting and Egyptian Hieroglyphs have some structural
features in common.

Michael Everson * Everson Gunn Teoranta *
15 Port Chaeimhghein Íochtarach; Baile Átha Cliath 2; Éire/Ireland
Guthán: +353 1 478 2597 ** Facsa: +353 1 478 2597 (by arrangement)
27 Páirc an Fhéithlinn; Baile an Bhóthair; Co. Átha Cliath; Éire

  Replies Author Date
1638 Re: SignWriting & Unicode Valerie Sutton Sat  8/7/1999

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