rhys> Show me someone who wants to communicate daily in 16th
rhys> century English or Japanese in e-mail, and you may
rhys> convince me.
You may have intended that as a rhetorical Q, but I am
interpreting it as a challange. >:-)>
Linguistic scholars, Classics Scholars, and Early Music
scholars/enthusiasts are 3 categories that come to mind
immediatly, all employ mail-lists and/or newsgroups and
are doing research which commands respect, if not some
degree of support.
Also there are numerous groups with varied interest in
alternate worlds from the literature of fantasy and
science fiction: Narnia, Klingon...
In fact there are large (100,000 +) groups of people who
are doing both scholarly and informal research into all
aspects of life ca 900-1600, including language
(esp writing systems), there are mail-lists and newsgroups
attempting to carry some of that burgeoning traffic.
One of my roommates is researching Historical Japanese
Names, and has of necessity explored some of the difficultys
involved in typesetting Historical Kanji, in our discussions
we have become convinced that a formally defined phrase-level
markup (inline or not) of written-language-variants is a
necessary precursor to successful polyglot-text transmission
of written text. Yes, it will be a nasty can of worms to
establish distinct categorys of usage, and I freely admit
that we are not the proper commitee to make decisions on the
categorization of specific glyphs.
But we are clearly under significant (?self) presure to utilize
the results of such work, IMHO we should be attempting to make
some projection of need which would be useful in guideing
Even if we postulate a technically (and politically) successful
unification of the worlds writing systems into a documented
encoding, adoption of it will not be rapid or universal
(witness present gateway issues), so some intermediary
method of suggesting a writen-script-system for user display
seems justified. Mind you I am not demanding font specifiers,
perhaps font-class would be a better term. It would be usefull
in selecting a font with appropriate encoding, but it wouldnt
dictate any particular one.
Audible selectors will have utility as well, but they deserve
a seperate, probably similar apparatus. It is often the case
that one writing system serves several spoken languages,
occaisionally a spoken language has multiple writing systems
available for its expression, so there is no one/one mapping
And history does enter the equation, if for no other reason
than that we cant ban historians from using the net.
dana s emery <de19(_at_)Umail(_dot_)umd(_dot_)edu>