> This comment on Chinese is found in Unicode version 4. I am trying
> to find out what it is doing there. There may be some opaque and
> ideosyncratic explanation for this like there is for so many other
> things. Who knows?
The Unicode Standard is a book about computer representation of written
language. It's no more a book about linguistics than Genesis is a
geology text. While much of Unicode is informed by linguistic theory,
the authors feel under no obligation to be as precise about linguistic
terminology as they would if they *were* writing a linguistics text.
(OTOH, we do feel obligated to be precise when it comes to matters of
encoding practice.) This is why we use the term "ideograph," which we
wouldn't use were we writing for linguists. The sentence you refer to
is a first-order approximation of the actual situation, written for
computer engineers. We know it isn't precisely true, but to phrase the
sentence with its proper exactitude for a linguistics setting would
simply be obfuscation so far as the actual intended audience is