OT RE: language question re: IDNs Conclusion

Debbie Garside debbie at ictmarketing.co.uk
Thu Oct 8 12:15:39 CEST 2009

Hi Cary

Going slightly off track to the original enquiry, I am quite interested in
the terminology currently being used for character/glyph similarities.  I
have read quite a bit about this during the course of the past couple of
years and I think you are right there is a need for a term to describe
"same/similar glyph".   Despite the fact that the Wikipedia article has no
clear references to the word or its etymology, I think there is considerable
merit in using Homoglyph to describe two or more glyphs or combination
characters that are visually the same or so similar to the human eye as to
cause confusion.

Articles that I have read have described "Homoglyphs" without actually using
the term.  For instance, UTR39 describes them as "confusables".  Richard
Ishida in his W3C Unicode Pickers document
(http://people.w3.org/rishida/scripts/pickers/) also describes "easily
confusable characters" but uses the heading "Shape" to introduce the
concept.  UTR36 describes "Two characters with similar or identical glyph
shapes".  Unicode has also produced a confusables list.  Wu [2006] describes
the concept but calls the whole a UC SimList.  So there would appear to be
confusion with "confusables" terminology!

Getting back to the original request for guidance, I still don't think
"Homoglyph bundling" is the correct terminology (for the reasons stated in
my mail regarding whole domain names - labels). Indeed having re-read some
of the documents cited above, I believe the term should be "Homograph(ic)
bundling" as the term Homograph is used consistently across the web in this

So, does anyone know how we can suggest Homoglyph to the editors of OED! :-)

Best regards


> -----Original Message-----
> From: idna-update-bounces at alvestrand.no
> [mailto:idna-update-bounces at alvestrand.no] On Behalf Of Cary Karp
> Sent: 07 October 2009 13:04
> To: idna-update at alvestrand.no
> Subject: RE: language question re: IDNs
> Quoting Debbie:
> > Within translation new terminology can create problems.  I think I
> > would advise to change to a term that can at least be found
> in the OED
> > giving translators a chance of finding an equivalent.
> The homoglyph/synoglyph terminology was adopted by an ICANN
> working group entirely separate from the IDNA w.g.. It is
> being used in their context as an intermediate expedient to
> clarify the group's own thinking, with the intention of
> jettisoning all such high-falutin' verbiage in the final
> documentation.
> Except for the present exchange, I wasn't aware that there
> had been any leakage outside that limited scope. But as long
> as that cat now appears to be out of the bag, the warrant for
> homoglyph/synoglyph was taken from the Wikipedia article
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homoglyph. Which, dare I say it,
> is likely to be a more frequently referenced source by our
> target audience than is the OED.
> /Cary
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