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   Re: [xml-dev] Subtyping in XML

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"Bullard, Claude L (Len)" scripsit:
> That must make rehosting the Egyptian information into new 
> media quite challenging.

Indeed.  The Unicode people are just beginning to tackle the problem
with a preliminary set of characters (the "Gardiner set") currently on
deck: 761 characters.  At least 4500 other characters are further
back on the queue, and there may be as many as 8000 when all is done,
many years hence.

> Why were the Chinese more prescient and competent?  
> Media types?  Information types? Cultural emphasis? 
> Dumb luck?

IMHO the biggest factor was an unbroken reading tradition.  Any
literate Chinese person has a feel for when two different glyphs are
"the same thing", just as Latin-alphabet persons can recognize "T" in
hundreds of different fonts without confusing it with "t", its nearest
neighbor in rendering space.  (If the upright protrudes past the bar,
it's "t", otherwise it's "T").

But Egyptian hieroglyphs were unreadable for more than a millennium, and
this feel for the system has to be painfully reconstructed from partial and
sometimes misleading evidence.

John Cowan  jcowan@reutershealth.com  www.ccil.org/~cowan  www.reutershealth.com
"In the sciences, we are now uniquely privileged to sit side by side
with the giants on whose shoulders we stand."
        --Gerald Holton


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