[Fwd]: Response to Mark's message]

John Cowan cowan at mercury.ccil.org
Wed Apr 9 23:14:40 CEST 2003

Kenneth Whistler scripsit:

> This is clearly insufficient as a *definition* of a script.
> It applies equally well to an alphabet, for example.

Complain to ME, not me.  I was presuming that when a standard defines a
term, the use of the term in the standard is per the definition.

> My point is that simply because some candidate "something"
> fits this definition isn't sufficient to claim it as
> a *script*. Otherwise I could come claiming I needed
> script codes for the English alphabet, the French
> alphabet, the German alphabet, ... ad naseum.

Well, no.  I don't read a word of Polish, but I have no trouble with the
*glyphs* of Polish.

> This would apply to English written in IPA for most English
> speakers. That doesn't make IPA a distinct script.

As you may remember, I've always thought that IPA was not Latin script,
even if IPA characters are borrowed into Latin script occasionally.
For one thing, IPA is caseless.

> But many others of the
> simplifications are no trouble at all to them, since they
> follow "traditional simplifications" in any case [...]  And
> SC users can read TC in proportion to their exposure to
> older forms in history and literature, etc.

Understood.  I can read English in Fraktur, and I can even make shift
read English in Cyrillic.  Still, the one is a clear script variant,
and the other is clearly a different script.

> This does not apply to the Chinese case, which is a deliberate
> orthographic reform *of* the writing system, but a reform
> which doesn't change anything fundamental about the script
> except the conventional shapes used for many characters.

The only difference between the English alphabet and the pig-pen
(aka Masonic) cipher is the "conventional shapes used for many

But I will shut up, because I do not want it supposed that there is
controversy when there is none, since ME does not want to act unless
there is none.  So far, no one (for whatever reasons) has openly rejected
the assignment of Hant and Hans, and only ME has spoken against it even

John Cowan           http://www.ccil.org/~cowan              cowan at ccil.org
To say that Bilbo's breath was taken away is no description at all.  There
are no words left to express his staggerment, since Men changed the language
that they learned of elves in the days when all the world was wonderful.
        --_The Hobbit_

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