Chu nom Characters

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Richard

Chu nom Characters

Postby Richard » Tue Sep 03, 2002 5:42 am

Hi again! I just wrote again to write an article and ask some questions about Chu nom characters used previously i Vietnam.

Chu noms are really similar to Chinese Hanzi, but I am wondering if Chinese people could understand them too, just like some characters hich were made in Japan and Korea, but were also accepted back in the Chinese writing system. Does this website contain all Chu nom characters? Please try these site: www.mojikyo.org and you'll find a lot about them but unfortunately, I couldn't find the readings for them. I'm also currently researching about the subject but, however, I couldn't find a lot of info about Chu nom. I'm just hoping you could help me about this topic.



Thanks a lot and good day!


Richard

James Campbell

Re: Chu nom Characters

Postby James Campbell » Tue Sep 03, 2002 9:04 am

Even if you can read Chinese you wouldn't be able to make sense of them. I can read Chu Nom but I've done a lot of Vietnamese study.

If you want readings for a character, or want to know what character a Vietnamese word uses, ask me.

No this website does not have Chu Nom characters. They are not listed in any Chinese, Japanese, or Korean dictionary. The only modern compilation they're listed in is Unicode.

The mojikyo is very limited, and offers a mere sampling of the Chu Nom (about 1000). Many of the more common Chu Nom characters are missing. Better to check the new Unicode extension, if you can identify which ones are Chu Nom. But even in that extension I still find some certain Chinese dialectal characters missing. There are about 9000 Chu Nom included. But no computer supports it yet, and as far as I and a few other researchers know, no Unicode extension fonts exist yet.

By the way, Chinese people only understand the characters they need to use regularly. Even characters made in Korea and Japan can't be read by Koreans or Japanese themselves, because they are RARE. The same for Vietnamese and Chu Nom. Only people who do research in these areas would be familiar with them, but not necessarily ever need to USE them unless they're compiling a list or dictionary. In fact, that's the only time I can think of that they're used.

It's like I could create a new English dictionary and fill it up with thousands of words like, zxyt, mguy, efjbd, etc. and explain that the pronunciations of these words are unknown, and that they were created for the purpose of a fictitionary John Blohn back in 1975 to transcribe a dream he had in poetic form, and nobody else ever has had a need for using these except for reproducing them endlessly and forevermore in new dictionaries for the purpose of making them long and filling them up with fluff.

Of all those strange Chinese character variants that exist out there, each of these individual characters does have an amount of aesthetic beauty not unlike art, so that dictionaries that compile all of them (like Kangxi and Unicode) are more works of art rather than for applicable use.

Some characters such as Chu Nom do have a literary function and do record active use of language in history. They were invented for the very common words in Vietnamese that have absolutely no cognate in Chinese, so that they could be written down. Vietnamese is not a Sinitic language, so there's a lot of vocabulary that needed recording.

There are some other scripts such as Xixia that have very little literary value and more artistic value, but that amount of literary value is still something to consider. I'm currently studying these. I have access to a lot of specialized dictionaries. Just ask and I can probably find one, if not already have it.

I think I've mentioned before somewhere that when you're looking for specialized information like this, try searching in Chinese, and if you can't find anything, there's usually more topics and information covered in Japanese. For example, a lot of the information linked with mojikyo is all in Japanese. I don't have TRON, but have you tried looking at this possibility? All the information on TRON is in Japanese, but that shouldn't be a hindrance for somebody like yourself who does this kind of research. I guess at one point we all acquire reading ability in the CJKV languages to accomplish this research.

What is your research exactly? Do you know any Chu Nom characters?

James Campbell

Thomas Chan

Re: Chu nom Characters

Postby Thomas Chan » Tue Sep 03, 2002 1:52 pm

James Campbell wrote:
>
> Even if you can read Chinese you wouldn't be able to make
> sense of them. I can read Chu Nom but I've done a lot of
> Vietnamese study.

Where would one start? I've seen the _Tu Dien Chu Nom_ 字典{字字}喃
dictionary in the library, but that's certainly not the best way to learn. I
think there are some Japanese books on chu nom as well, but little or nothing
in English except articles in academic journals describing it (e.g., Nguyen
Dinh-hoa in JAOS decades ago.) I've heard that Vietnamese books on the subject
are easy to acquire in Vietnam, but that is a lot harder for me to acquire than
Japanese or Chinese books from the US (a less established distribution system,
I guess).

I do know of one book, an English translation of Ho Xuan Huong's 胡春香
poetry, _Spring Essence_, translated by John Balaban (Port Townsend, WA:
Copper Canyon Press, 2000). It has chu nom original (in some cases,
reconstructed from the quoc ngu), romanized quoc ngu, and Balaban's
translation. Other than a few accidental coincidences with historical
Chinese and/or Cantonese, e.g., {口既}, it's all unfamiliar.


> No this website does not have Chu Nom characters. They are
> not listed in any Chinese, Japanese, or Korean dictionary.
> The only modern compilation they're listed in is Unicode.

Well, chinalanguage.com does have some since it's upgrade to Unicode
3.1, but no information on them since it's sources are Sinocentric,
e.g., U+20129
http://chinalanguage.com/cgi-bin/view.p ... uery=20129
for Viet. hai 'two'.


> The mojikyo is very limited, and offers a mere sampling of
> the Chu Nom (about 1000). Many of the more common Chu Nom
> characters are missing.

Hmm, and it is toted as being the first/best solution for chu nom
on computers? Must be ad copy from Japanese sources.


> Better to check the new Unicode
> extension, if you can identify which ones are Chu Nom. But
> even in that extension I still find some certain Chinese
> dialectal characters missing.

With the unihan.txt file, one can find the characters which came from the
V0 source, which is the TCVN 5773:1993 character set, which contains chu nom
characters.

Yes, a lot of Chinese dialect characters are missing, and Cantonese is
perhaps the best supported so far (though only tolerably--you can write what
you want, but you don't really have your pick of all the possible variants
ever used for a character), which doesn't bode well for others. Current
support for other dialect characters seems to be accidental. I think Zhuang
characters are missing, too, aside from accidental coincidence.


> There are about 9000 Chu Nom
> included. But no computer supports it yet, and as far as I
> and a few other researchers know, no Unicode extension fonts
> exist yet.

There is a font called "Simsum (Founder Extended)" (filename: sursong.ttf),
which I hear is included with Office XP Proofing Tools, as well as Chinese localized editions of Win XP, which contains all of Extension B, and thus,
would include the chu nom that are currently in Unicode. The Proofing Tools
method seems to be the cheaper and preferred way for most people in the West
to acquire the font.


> It's like I could create a new English dictionary and fill it
> up with thousands of words like, zxyt, mguy, efjbd, etc. and
> explain that the pronunciations of these words are unknown,
> and that they were created for the purpose of a fictitionary
> John Blohn back in 1975 to transcribe a dream he had in
> poetic form, and nobody else ever has had a need for using
> these except for reproducing them endlessly and forevermore
> in new dictionaries for the purpose of making them long and
> filling them up with fluff.

Funny you mention this, as the artist Xu Bing printed a book of
brand new intentionally made-up characters (see "A Book from the Sky"--天書
at http://www.xubing.com/)--a few are said to accidently pre-exist
his work. (On a tangent, he also did something called "square word
calligraphy", which are English words made to look like Han characters--
see the red logo on the first page, which is just his romanized name.)


> I think I've mentioned before somewhere that when you're
> looking for specialized information like this, try searching
> in Chinese, and if you can't find anything, there's usually
> more topics and information covered in Japanese. For example,
> a lot of the information linked with mojikyo is all in
> Japanese.

Yes, very true. I've found some nice stuff, like: _Kanji no shashin jiten_
漢字之寫真字典 (sorry about the mangled character name) [1], which has photos
of unusual/rare characters spotted on the streets of Asia, or _Wasei kanji no
jiten_ 和製漢字之辭典_[2], which has Japanese kokuji, or _Dictionary of Chinese
Character Variants_ by the ROC Ministry of Education (seems to be down?)[3]
which also has some interesting appendices like Korean-made characters, etc.

[1] http://homepage2.nifty.com/Gat_Tin/kanji/kaindex.htm
[2] http://member.nifty.ne.jp/TAB01645/ohara/abstract.htm
[3] http://140.111.1.40/

About Mojikyo and Tron, there is a project to map Mojikyo to Unicode:
http://sourceforge.net/projects/kanji-database/
(I don't follow such stuff, though, as Unicode seems to me the better
approach--at least, for Chinese dialect characters.)


Thomas Chan
tc31@cornell.edu

Thomas Chan

Re: Chu nom Characters

Postby Thomas Chan » Tue Sep 03, 2002 1:56 pm

Richard wrote:
>
> this website contain all Chu nom characters? Please try these
> site: www.mojikyo.org and you'll find a lot about them but
> unfortunately, I couldn't find the readings for them. I'm

For readings, you can try 1) the "Nom Lookup Tool" at the Vietnamese Nom
Preservation Foundation (http://www.nomfoundation.org/), 2) the unihan.txt file
(get the .zip file--it's smaller) at the Unicode Consortium http://www.unicode.org/),
3) or the Hypercard stack on TCVN 5773:1993 at
http://www.unicode.org/Public/MAPPINGS/ ... ASIA/TCVN/ .


Thomas Chan
tc31@cornell.edu

Richard

Re: Chu nom Characters

Postby Richard » Tue Sep 03, 2002 4:02 pm

Dear Mr. James Campbell,


Hi! as for the question I know a lot of Chu nom Characters, however, I do not really know how they are pronounced. Actually, I'm just a 17 year old student who knows how to speak 6 languages: English, Tagalog, Mandarin, Cantonese, Jpanese and Fookienese(min nan hua of Southern Fookien province).
I know such chu nom characters,such as the character mei(beautiful in mandarin) on the left side together with the kai character(meaning to open in mandarin. Bushou is "men" =door).
Do you also know this character? what does i mean?
I'm just researching about chu nom since I'm addicted to Chinese characters and as a matter of fact, I'm looking for some references to certain characters. I just became a member of the Mojikyo Institute last month. Anyway, do you know any references o the complete Chu nom characters? How many Chu noms are there? Thanks a lot. I hope you could e-mail me some rare Chu nom's not yet found in any site so that I may incorporate them into my own Chinese character dictionary. Here's my e-mail: richardandrewparedes@yahoo.com
I also appreciate characters for its aesthetic meaning and beauty. Actually, I also practice calligraphy when I have he time to do so. I hope I could learn a lot from you about these RARE Chu nom Characters used previously in Vietnam.




Regards,



Richard

James Campbell

Re: Chu nom Characters

Postby James Campbell » Tue Sep 03, 2002 6:47 pm

Thomas,

You mean 宁字 (zhu zi) not 字字 (zi zi). Big difference, and the reason for the pronunciation chu+~ in Vietnamese.

Richard,

You mean Fujian.

There are two ways to write that character. 1. Like you describe, and 2. with the my~ inside of the door radical.
You already know what the character means: to open and pronounced mo+?, that's the beauty of the Chu Nom, there's usually some part there that tells you the meaning already. The other part is just an approximation for the pronunciation.

You're still very young, so you're not really a researcher yet? Are you Chinese? You know Mandarin, Yue, and Minnan, all three? Did you grow up in China learning them? I know Mandarin, Minnan, and Wu, and about half a dozen European languages with reading ability in about a dozen more European and Asian languages. May I ask where do you currently live and go to school?

Richard, li kam guan-i iong banlam-oe ka goa kau-oa~ phoe? Kasu guan-i e-oe, li ti cia sia-phoe ka goa kong chingcho, goa ciu e sang ho li tiancu iu-kia~.

And please don't keep writing Chu Noms. These kinds of words don't have plurals like that. Chu Nom is not a countable entity, like water or writing. It is made up of many characters.

I'm very busy with my business, so I may not have the time to answer all of your requests.

Thomas,

John Balaban's book I know about. But he supposedly doesn't even know Vietnamese very well and the translations are inaccurate. He's more like a fan of the characters than of the language itself, which is not being very literate. I own and run a translation and localization company, so I place heavy value on translation quality!!

James Campbell

Thomas Chan

Re: Chu nom Characters

Postby Thomas Chan » Tue Sep 03, 2002 7:41 pm

James Campbell wrote:
>
> You mean 宁字 (zhu zi) not 字字 (zi zi). Big difference, and
> the reason for the pronunciation chu+~ in Vietnamese.

Thanks for the correction--it makes a lot more sense now, as a 形聲
character. I thought I had seen it with two 字's once, but it was so long
ago that I don't really remember what I had seen. There seems to be more
than one way to write the entire chu nom term--DeFrancis in _Colonialism
and Language Policy in Vietnam_ (The Hague: Mouton, 1977) gave some
variant forms, such as a different way to write nom other than 喃, used by
Vietnamese scholars who were aware of the 'mumble' usage of the
character--I think it might have substituted 字 for 口.


> John Balaban's book I know about. But he supposedly doesn't
> even know Vietnamese very well and the translations are
> inaccurate. He's more like a fan of the characters than of
> the language itself, which is not being very literate. I own
> and run a translation and localization company, so I place
> heavy value on translation quality!!

I've also heard both praise and criticism of Balaban's translation,
as is the case with many reviews, but couldn't judge it myself so I
didn't mention it.


Thomas Chan
tc31@cornell.edu

Richard

Re: Chu nom Characters

Postby Richard » Wed Sep 04, 2002 12:19 pm

Dear Mr. James Campbell,

ni hao. to sia di goa e peng iu. I am currently studying in St. Mary of the woods school, Makati City, Philippines. Last year, I became the official translator of Special Education Students who came from Taiwan to study here in the Philippines.I learned all these 3 languages by myself without a teacher nor anybody helping me.About my Japanese, I learned it by myself too.Each time I would go to zhong hua cun(Chinatown) here in Manila and would try a new language every time I go shopping or visit that place.I don't know what enticed me to sudy these languages, I guess probably the characters which are think are really very beautiful.
I'm a half Chinese. My mom is a Filipino. My grandfather, coming from Fujian Province came here to the Philippines after 1949. I do some personal research about the subject since Chinese characters and Chu noms attract me a lot personally. On the other hand, I also read the Chinese classics and Tang Poems by li bai and Tu fu. Someday, I'm also planning to be a linguist. I'm leaving next year for Japan for the Monbusho(Ministry of Education) Scholarship in Japan.Btw, where do you operate your translation company? Sometimes, I still look back at my life 5 years ago, those were times when I would study mandarin.I would light up a candle in my room and write a certain character. I wouldn't stop until I memorized the whole character in my mind.Even though there was already electricity in our generation, I would prefer studying putonghua with some candles because I want to study it the "traditional" way. (That's how
I love Chinese Characters!!!! :=) )
Currently, I live at 215-B. Gemini St., Rainbow Village 2, Sucat, Parañaque City, Philippines, which is a long way from my school.


Good Luck. I'll try writing you again.Thank's a lot.






Regards,




Richard

TriHai

Re: Chu nom Characters

Postby TriHai » Mon Sep 09, 2002 12:20 am

actually the word chu+~ can b written MANY ways
1. [字文]
2. [字宁]
3. [字字]
4. [宁字]
the most common way is the 2nd or 3rd
this is because chu nom has never been made a standard until unicode

Mark
Posts: 134
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2005 3:53 pm
Contact:

Re: Chu nom Characters

Postby Mark » Tue Sep 24, 2002 6:45 am

Erm...

How about one of us submits a Unicode proposal for characters that can be found in the http://140.111.1.40/ dictionary, other dialect dictionaries, Jurchen, Xixia, &c dictionaries (ok, maybe not Jurchen, Xixia, but still http://140.111.1.40/ and dialect dictionaries) but not in the already existing Unicode standard?

About a month ago, I almost completed a proposal for Dongba (Naxiji), but I had troubles with MS Word and how to make it work properly with the proposal... I have the file, I will upload it if anybody is willing to help... :p

Oh, and WinXP and Win2K support Unicode's latest version, 32 bits and all. You just have to change 2 registry values on Win2K, on WinXP everything is already all set to go.

Thomas Chan

Re: Chu nom Characters

Postby Thomas Chan » Tue Sep 24, 2002 2:13 pm

Mark wrote:
>
> How about one of us submits a Unicode proposal for characters
> that can be found in the http://140.111.1.40/ dictionary,
> other dialect dictionaries, Jurchen, Xixia, &c dictionaries
> (ok, maybe not Jurchen, Xixia, but still http://140.111.1.40/
> and dialect dictionaries) but not in the already existing
> Unicode standard?

Some "dialect characters" are just the inventions of the dictionary
compilers, and don't really exist elsewhere. Sometimes the compilers
will invent characters, or substitute what they think is the etymological
character, without regard to how people really write the word in
colloquial writings.

It's not a bad idea to submit, but they are starting to crack down on rarer
characters and variants, because it is already getting too unwieldy
to use, over 70K characters and growing...

Jurchen and Tangut are really part of systems separate from Han
characters, btw--they are roadmapped to go in Plane 1, rather than
Plane 2.


> About a month ago, I almost completed a proposal for Dongba
> (Naxiji), but I had troubles with MS Word and how to make it
> work properly with the proposal... I have the file, I will
> upload it if anybody is willing to help... :p

Are you in contact with people who use the script?


> Oh, and WinXP and Win2K support Unicode's latest version, 32
> bits and all. You just have to change 2 registry values on
> Win2K, on WinXP everything is already all set to go.

Do you know of any fonts for them? e.g., there's really only one font
that covers the Plane 2 characters.


Thomas Chan
tc31@cornell.edu

James Campbell

Re: Chu nom Characters

Postby James Campbell » Tue Sep 24, 2002 5:40 pm

You can also check the contents at:

http://www.cns11643.gov.tw/web/index.jsp

Mark,

I discussed this with a colleague recently about the shortcomings of Unicode. Is not writing something that can flow easily from your pen and controlled by your hand? Each and every individual character that I produce by my hand can either be created or already existent. There is no limitation to the ease with which I can create new characters.

Unicode is like a typewriter. It is limited in its scope. We do not have yet the technology of the "hand".

Creating characters does not have to be completely random or nonsense. I could just as easily create the character [亻因] and use it in a Minnan sentence and the reader would understand what I've written. OR, I should even be able to "create" 姻 in the same way, even though it already exists.

A futuristic solution to this problem is basically creating a program that understands the vectors of the shapes of letters and characters, encodes the directions of the strokes (I suppose postscript could be an example of this) and then decodes them when they are to be read.

For example, if I were typing some special Chinese characters like 亻因 above, and if using pinyin I could type 'yin' into my application and up jumps a choice of regular characters or created characters, I click on created characters where I get a choice of possible rhymes (諧聲字) such as 音, 因, 垔, 侌, etc. and then a separate list of radicals which can be compounded at will. So to 因 I could not only add 亻, but then 艹, and then even a 辶 if I really wanted to. Or how about that famous one hung up on signs all over the place but I've never seen on a computer: zhaocaijinbao. So, once I've created a character I could choose to have it listed together with my regular characters which will move to the front of the list the more I use it.

There should also be an advanced function for creating non-standard characters, all which would handle your directions automatically, without having to go into a font editor or position placement tool. You character would then be encoded by a standard mapping of the vectors and the lines, rather than a bitmap. With this feature in place, you only need to apply certain characteristics such as adding serifs or making it italic and so on without the creation of separate fonts.

With such a technology, the creation of millions of Chinese characters could be possible, just as it is by anybody's hand. There wouldn't be a need for that many; there would only be a need for as many as an individual would wish to use, and that's a freedom that our hands allow us, but computers so far do not. But by natural evolution, this many characters just would not occur by humans. We'd only need the ones we'd want to use for our dictionaries and dialects.

James

Mark
Posts: 134
Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2005 3:53 pm
Contact:

Re: Chu nom Characters

Postby Mark » Mon Sep 30, 2002 10:11 pm

James: I've often thought of such a solution, perhaps "combining" elements of hanzi in all allowed positions that one might combine on a "base hanzi" of nothing at all. Of course this might often produce awkward results, but it certainly is feasable if you only plan to use this feature every once in a while. However, if you plan to write a whole e-book of such hanzi, you will find that it takes up much, much more space than if each of the characters you create were part of the Unicode standard.

Also I have thought before of a solution for Hangeul encoding using combining jamo in different positions, and perhaps this could work but documents would take up more space! (or would they? I think they would) Plus, Hangeul has already been encoded in Unicode and many other encodings in a different way, so it's sort of useless now.

Thomas:

Indeed they are roadmapped to go to Plane 2, but they have not yet been encoded if I am correct.

Last time I checked, neither had the Donga script.

And I *sort of* have contact with users of the Dongba script, depending how you define users. If you mean people who use it on a daily basis, then that would be pretty hard to find unless it was somebody who used it for research etc., but it is not nearly as hard to find somebody speaking Naxi who can read and write the Dongba script.

And yes, I do know of 1 font that supports past Plane 1... Code2001 supports some of the new additions past 8bit.

Thomas Chan

Re: Chu nom Characters

Postby Thomas Chan » Mon Sep 30, 2002 11:11 pm

Mark wrote:
>
> James: I've often thought of such a solution, perhaps
> "combining" elements of hanzi in all allowed positions that
> one might combine on a "base hanzi" of nothing at all. Of
> course this might often produce awkward results, but it
> certainly is feasable if you only plan to use this feature
> every once in a while. However, if you plan to write a whole
> e-book of such hanzi, you will find that it takes up much,
> much more space than if each of the characters you create
> were part of the Unicode standard.
>
> Also I have thought before of a solution for Hangeul encoding
> using combining jamo in different positions, and perhaps this
> could work but documents would take up more space! (or would
> they? I think they would) Plus, Hangeul has already been
> encoded in Unicode and many other encodings in a different
> way, so it's sort of useless now.

Like for Han characters, that method of encoding hangul would take up
more space, because one is encoding each individual letter, and thus
every possible combination (as a sequence of "letters"), whereas with a
method that encodes the precomposed units, only the possible ones are
accepted and space is not wasted. For example, the number of components
necessary for Han characters is in the hundreds, and that doesn't take into
account positioning within the character. Let's pretend there are only 214
components--we know there are at least this many, as the number of Kangxi
radicals, but we know there at much much more. That would require 8 bits
(2 to the 8th power = 256) to store just one component. Repeat that for
every other component, and then also reserve some bits for positioning.
Compare that to a restricted list of precomposed Han characters of about
8,000-10,000, a functional amount, cf., telegraph code which encodes under
10,000--this would require only 13 or 14 bits (2 to the 13th or 14th power).

One con is that this method introduces the spectre of spelling mistakes,
like children writing the wrong radical, which is part of the reason why we have
50,000+ in the first place now, because the dictionary compilers have compiled
mistakes and preserved them for posterity. Flip through the Kangxi, and see all
the "X de ezi"--"erroneous form of X" entries. (On the other hand, this would
also create a cottage industry of "Chinese spellchecking" software.)

Another con is that processing speed goes down, because each character is of
variable length--moving six characters to the left will not be backtracking
twelve bytes or whatever, but a variable amount.

But as James said for the flexibility of being able to create characters
naturally like people have always done, a decomposed encoding allows for
unusual hangul combinations. For one thing, the precomposed hangul syllables
in Unicode (damn their waste, as there are some that do not occur in the
language at all) do not include any combinations that occur in medieval hangul
(such as those using archaic letters, like half-sios [z].)

About fonts--the decomposed method has been done before. It's called "johab",
and the fonts are very small, since you only need the individual letters in
the few various positions (upper left, bottom, etc). e.g., "g" in "ga" vs.
"tag". But for modern use, people have switched to the precomposed encodings...


> Indeed they are roadmapped to go to Plane 2, but they have
> not yet been encoded if I am correct.

Plane 1, but not encoded yet.


> Last time I checked, neither had the Donga script.

It might be listed under Naxi or Nakhi--I don't remember.


> And I *sort of* have contact with users of the Dongba script,
> depending how you define users. If you mean people who use it
> on a daily basis, then that would be pretty hard to find
> unless it was somebody who used it for research etc., but it
> is not nearly as hard to find somebody speaking Naxi who can
> read and write the Dongba script.

I'm not sure how the powers define contact with the user community. But it
seems they certainly want more than just people who know something about it,
but don't actually use it.

Contact and input from people who actually use (or study) a script is important;
right now, Khmer script is a mess because not enough efforts were made in the
past to involve people who write in it.


> And yes, I do know of 1 font that supports past Plane 1...
> Code2001 supports some of the new additions past 8bit.

But Kass' Code2001 only has Plane 1, not Plane 2. So all you get is Gothic,
Deseret, etc., but no Han characters. The only font I know of with Plane 2
characters is "Simsun (Founder Extended)".


Thomas Chan
tc31@cornell.edu

Thomas Chan

Re: Chu nom Characters

Postby Thomas Chan » Mon Sep 30, 2002 11:23 pm

James Campbell wrote:
>
> I discussed this with a colleague recently about the
> shortcomings of Unicode. Is not writing something that can
> flow easily from your pen and controlled by your hand? Each
> and every individual character that I produce by my hand can
> either be created or already existent. There is no limitation
> to the ease with which I can create new characters.

I sympathize with not being able to write the characters I want, if for even
a reason as having to wait for attention to be brought to it, getting it
catalogued and encoded, having fonts made and distributed, etc. Even for
long-standing characters that have been attested for decades, i.e., not new
frivolously created nonce characters. Many Cantonese dialect characters are
in this situation, since they have escaped the notice of native dictionary
compilers (or deliberately omitted, if they were conservatives). Another
flaw is that by the time such characters are collected and encoded, they might
have become historical curiousities as users have moved on to other characters,
especially for developing (dialect) orthographies.


> Or how about that famous one
> hung up on signs all over the place but I've never seen on a
> computer: zhaocaijinbao.

Mojikyou has got a few ligatures like that (I don't know about that one
specifically), but it is still a system of cataloging and encoding precomposed
characters:
http://homepage2.nifty.com/Gat_Tin/kanji/sinji.htm


Thomas Chan
tc31@cornell.edu


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