On Thursday, November 8, 2001, at 02:17 PM, Peter T. Daniels wrote:

> Well, that certainly says something about the Unicode gang: use what's
> convenient instead of what's right. I gather that's been the approach to
> the whole project!

No, not really.

First of all, there as here, everybody agreed that "ideograph/ideogram" is
simply wrong, just as everybody knows that "hieroglyphics" is simply wrong.
There, as here, nobody was able to come up with a consensus on what
would be better. There are a lot of candidates, all of which seem to be
just as wrong (logogram) or culturally limited (hanzi).

If I were writing a book about East Asian writing systems, I'd probably
spend a fair chunk of time describing the vocabulary problem. If I'm
developing an encoding for them, then the precise terminology used to
describe them is less important than getting the encoding details correct.
It isn't Unicode's job to solve sinological problems.

Secondly, Unicode has fought some uphill battles (and some downhill ones,
too, alas). Han unification is one thing that Unicode pushed through as
"right" even though it was clearly inconvenient for a lot of people.
Combining marks, representation of Indic via glyph manipulation, and so on,
are all solutions to problems that are decidedly inconvenient but which
were adopted because they were right.

> The notion of "ideogram" was debunked as long ago as 1838, by Peter
> Stephen Duponceau, so there's really no excuse for its hanging on.

Yes, and the metric system has been around for somewhat longer but hasn't
fully displaced the English/American/Imperial system, and Fibonacci
provided a vastly superior alternative to Roman numerals that hasn't fully
displaced them yet some eight hundred years ago. People are slow to adopt
the superior.

John H. Jenkins