At 17:49 -0500 2001-11-08, Peter T. Daniels wrote:

>I recently found out that there's some sort of "free space" where anyone
>can stick anything -- and someone has stuck in there the Dr. Seuss
>"letters" from *On beyond Zebra* -- except that they are, obviously, not
>"letters," but ligatures of various Roman letters, and they are,
>obviously, not components of any sort of writing system. That's when I
>became inclined to take Unicode less than seriously.

Heh heh. I think it was John Cowan who proposed Seuss for the
ConScript Registry ( But of
course we know that that one is totally frivolous, and indeed we know
that Seuss' letters, as clearly stated in the book, are extensions to
the Latin alphabet. But that's what the ConScript Registry is for --
for things that enthusiasts may like to work with, for fun, pure and

Actually, some for scripts in the ConScript Registry did find that
there was sufficient reason to encode them. Deseret is the best
example; Shavian may be a bit dodgy but it satisfied the committees
and there is an online presence of people using it and, possibly, the
fame of the script in the history of writing systems makes it useful
to encode. (There are thousands and thousands of Han characters
encoded which have less utility -- many of these are "mistakes"
sanctified in venerable Chinese dictionaries, so I am given to
understand. Tengwar and Cirth are two scripts which will one day be
encoded; there is an active user community creating new texts, and of
course a corpus of original material, in numerous languages (Quenya,
Sindarin, the Black Speech, English, and Old English) by Tolkien
himself. The Linux community had originally encoded the Klingon font
in the PUA, and this was useful -- the technical committees were able
to use it to determine some of the requirements that scripts really
have to meet to be encoded for real. Klingon failed to meet them.
Visible Speech will likely one day be encoded, I think.

> > For good or for ill, the standard uses, for various reasons, the term
>> "ideograph". (**Not** "ideogram".) And the standard was approved a
>> decade ago, and it's not possible to change certain aspects of it
>> (such
>(Why -graph rather than -gram? Isn't the interference from "phonograph"
>'record player' enough to decide it?)

I don't know why. Phonograph? There's also gramophone. Neither are so
common in this day of cassette tapes and CDs.... :-)

>Well who invented their stupid name? If CJK characters encoded "ideas,"
>Leibniz would have had his "universal language" centuries ago. As we've
>just been discussing at sci.lang, "ideogram" puts bad ideas in people's

I don't know. I began working on ISO/IEC 10646 and Unicode after that
had happened. The Concise Oxford says:

ideogram. a character symbolizing the idea of a thing without
indicating the sequence of sounds in its name (e.g. a numeral, and
many {note it does not say all} Chinese characters. Greek idea 'form'
+ -gram [forming nouns denoting a thing written or recorded (often in
a certain way) (anagram, epigram, monogram, telegram) [from or
suggested by Greek gramma -atos 'thing written, letter of the
alphabet', from graphó 'write']]

ideograph. = ideogram. [Greek idea 'form' + -graph [forming nouns and
verbs meaning 1 a thing written or drawn etc. in a specified way
(autograph, photograph), 2 an instrument that records (heliograph,
seismograph, telegraph)]

logogram. a sign or character representing a word, as in shorthand or
some ancient writing systems. [Greek logos 'word' + -gram]

logograph. [not listed]

From what you say about Leibnitz, it seems to me that Blissymbolics
(, at least, is truly
ideographic. Not to say "ideogrammatic".
Michael Everson *** Everson Typography ***
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