Archaic scripts (was: Re: New version: draft-ietf-idna-tables-01.txt)

Michel Suignard michelsu at
Wed May 7 19:08:43 CEST 2008

Concerning the issue with Archaic scripts. I'd like to mention that the Unicode TR31 contains a table (#4) in the following section describing the candidate characters for exclusion at :

While I would agree with some of the views expressed by John, Vint, and others on erring on the side of caution, I don't think the subset of these scripts currently located in plane 1, namely, in order of appearance:
Linear_B, Lycian, Carian, Old_Italic, Gothic, Ugaritic, Old_Persian, Deseret, Shavian, Osmanya, Cypriot, Phoenician, Lydian, Kharoshthi, and Cuneiform,
are in any revival mode.

To give additional perspective, in the pipeline we have for the same plane 1:
Amd5: Avestan, Egyptian hieroglyphs
Amd6: Imperial Aramaic, Old south Arabian, Inscriptional Parthian, Inscriptional Pahlavi, Old Turkic, Kaithi, Tangut, and Nushu
Same remark as above.
Furthermore the same amendments still add many 'living' scripts all in plane 0 (Thai Tam, Tai Viet, Samaritan, Meetei Mayek, Lisu, and Javanese) while extending many others.

Some of these plane 1 scripts add a huge number of characters that are symbolic/pictorial in nature, because in many cases they have not been fully deciphered. I really don't see the point in allowing them in a identifier scheme such as IDN.

So far, the Plane 0 versus Plane 1 distinction is not a bad one. Like John noticed it won't hold for longer term, but at this point and for another three years it is a reasonable break point. When I look at the list of scripts currently in plane 1, I only see very dead scripts. It has been so far the separation point for picking plane 0 or plane 1 for script allocation (extinct or not as requested in the ISO encoding summary form, or in the roadmap documents maintained by both ISO and the UTC). In plane 0 the situation is quite different, and I would go with you for a cautious approach, to the point of preserving the intersection between the table 4 mentioned above and plane 0 encoding, meaning preservation (PVALID) of characters in:
Buginese, Buhid, Coptic, Glagolitic, Hanunoo, Ogham, Phags-Pa, Rejang, Runic, Sundanese, Syloti_nagri, Syriac, Tagbanwa, and Tagalog.

John mentioned that "some scripts that were clearly of only
historical interest a decade or two ago are being resurrected
and taught in schools.  They are probably still a curiosity
today, but some would predict that they would become significant
enough in another decade or so to require reclassifying them"

On that assertion, I would like to see specific examples that would invalidate my position concerning status of plane 1 scripts.


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