Distinguishing Greek and Greek

John Cowan jcowan at reutershealth.com
Wed Mar 9 04:25:45 CET 2005

Mark Davis scripsit:

> That is a possibility, but it is sub-optimal. It is thus again because (a)
> country differences are generally far less important than script (including
> major orthographic variants like monotonic vs polytonic), and (b) when
> language tags are matched, they are treated as most-significant-field first.

Not so major.  As I said, if you can read either, you can read the other;
if you can write polytoniko, you can write monotoniko.  The only thing
you can't do without special training is write polytoniko.

> This is very similar in that respect to Hans vs Hant, which is a choice of
> which different subset of Han characters encoding in Unicode that are used
> to represent Chinese, and the same reasoning applies.

I agree with Michael that these are not separate characters at the user level.
This is an orthographical reform, not a change of script.

> Now, the one difference with Han would be if someone objected that Greek
> is only ever spoken/written in a single country, and there would never,
> ever, be any need to have a country variant. If that were the case,
> then encoding as a variant would not be as bad. But not being omniscient
> I am reluctant to make such a strong claim about the use of Greek!

It's false, anyhow.  Greek is one of the official languages of the
Republic of Cyprus.  The Ethnologue also notes significant populations
in Albania, Egypt, and Italy.

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