Re: Unicode Mongolian

From: Peter Constable (
Date: Mon Mar 20 2000 - 08:27:08 EST


>Now, in "The Unicode Standard Version 3.0", on page 289,
>you can all see what yo u are in for when you rely on
>Unicode: on p.289ff. the "Additional Script" Mongolian is

>"If the Mongolian script is adopted into horizontal text,
>its lines are rotated another 90 degrees counterclockwise
>so that the letters join left to right, and the columns
>are transcribed to the equivalent lines (first column
>becomes first line, and so on). IF SUCH TEXT IS VIEWED
>STRETCHES OF TEXT (emphasis added by Hans). Note that
>there are no bidirectional effects in such a layout,
>because all text is horizontal left to right."

>Apart from an obvious mistake: - "first column becomes
>first line, and so on" is wrong, rather last column
>becomes first line, and so on is true, - what this
>means in other words is the following: Unicode
>necessitates a change of orthograp hy standards,
>making the native reader reverse his habitual reading

       I believe you may be misunderstanding the intent. Unicode
       doesn't require any changes to the orthography. The text you
       quoted is discussing what to do if a person wants to mix
       languages in a paragraph of text, Mongolian with something
       written LTR. The author is suggesting that it can be acceptable
       to present the Mongolian LTR. Apparently, the author seems to
       think this is accepted practice. This is provided in the
       Unicode book as an implementation guideline, but is not
       something that Unicode requires.

       If you believe that this implementation for mixing Mongolian
       with LTR text is not the preferred way to do it (I must admit,
       it's not what I would have expected), then I suggest you write
       to the Unicode list to say so. The text can be changed in the
       next version, and probably would be if there are clear
       precedents to suggest that the other way is used or even

>It would have been easy to make Mongolian an horizontal
>RTL script, (i.e. rotati ng 90 degrees clockwise). Then
>viewing the text sideways would result in normal
>Mongolian reading order! This way has been used by
>scholars during the last 200 years, when Mongolian
>studies grew up.

       It sounds like you're aware of a pretty good precedent for
       using the other rotation (making the Mongolian RTL).


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Tue Jul 10 2001 - 17:21:00 EDT