Pictograms and the UCS

From: Alain LaBonté  (alb@sct.gouv.qc.ca)
Date: Wed Jun 14 2000 - 09:26:28 EDT

À 11:57 2000-06-12 -0400, Peter Fraser a écrit:
>I just see it as reinventing written Chinese. Goodbye Dictionaries.

[Alain] Just three points:

1) I believe that most Chinese "ideographs" are not pictographic
    (therefore not ideographic per se) although thay have graphic
    characteristics which make a visual classification possible;
2) Dictionaries have existed for Chinese since many centuries...
3) If an iconic grammar were built, one could find its way through a
    visual pictogram dictionary(*)

>If you don't know what the symbol means tough luck.

[Alain] Obviously, education is required. I think that nobody disagrees
with this.

Alain LaBonté

* : Btw for the "special" characters of the Universal Character Set, an
     attempt at classification of existing ones has been made by Michael
     Everson. I believe that this classification is still on his site.
     This is a very good effort and I believe it should not be lost, it
     is a service to the character set users community, in particular for
     such a big repertoire of characters. The way Michael did it is,
     I believe, based on visual clues (correct me, Michael, if I am

     The Unicode tables also classify those specials according to their
     properties (another viewpoint). It is also an excellent reference.

     Both of these works have their merits and are complementary, imho.

     For ISO 7000, which is the bible of ISO pictograms (or IEC 517 in
     the case of IEC), there is an issue with classifying them visually,
     as so far they have been organized (a posteriori) only by their
     alphabetic function name in English and in French!!! As you say,
     Peter, good luck to find the one you're looking for if you do not
     know what it means in advance. Fortunately those who use these
     symbols within a limited context document them for people really

     ISO/IEC 9995-7 (keyboard function symbols) has made an attempt to
     organize them visually(these symbols are also in ISO 7000, it is
     mandatory). Most of the keyboard pictograms are now encoded in the
     Universal Character Set as they may be used in text searches (mainly
     for documentation purposes destined to computer users).

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