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   RE: Unicode, xml:lang, and variant glyphs

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  • From: "Rick Jelliffe" <ricko@allette.com.au>
  • To: "XML Dev" <xml-dev@ic.ac.uk>
  • Date: Thu, 5 Nov 1998 16:46:36 +1100

> From:   John Cowan

> Rick Jelliffe wrote:

> > The primary purpose of xml:lang, as far as I am concerned, should be to
> > convey the information lost by ISO 10646 unification: where the
> > Japanese and Chinese glyphs
> Actually, the problem isn't that clearcut.  As John Jenkins posted
> to the Unicode list last year:
> (..Lots of facts..)

FACT: Many times that someone says two characters are variants and should be
unified, someone else has used them not as variants. Hence the Unicode
compatability area.

> > (or Polish and Russian)
> How's that again?

Oops I meant Russian and Bylorussian (or Khazak or Ukrainian) where some of
the national characters have a different form.

> It doesn't lose information about meaning.  It may make characters
> harder to read, but the distinction is one of typographic tradition,
> not language, and can cross languages.

Are you are saying that characters carry information, and never glyphs (or
character + locale + markup)? You cannot say this without knowing the domain
and purpose of the text: if it is mathematics, then the font definitely
carries information that the unified character does not. If you have a
multi-language dictionary or a list of names which requires exactness, the
font (or markup which selects the font) again is important.

"Harder to read" is no criterion at all. If it is harder to read, it is
because it has lost information.

Rick Jelliffe

Independent XML/SGML Consultant: FM+SGML a speciality
Research Assistant:Computing Center, Academia Sinica, Taipei
Author: The XML & SGML Cookbook, Recipes for Structured Information, 1998

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