Re: Emoji: National Flag Symbols

From: Kenneth Whistler (
Date: Mon Dec 22 2008 - 19:58:55 CST

> > What we concluded is that we would propose that the characters
> > be allocated in a
> > block that had enough positions for the non-private use country codes
> > (that is 676
> > combinations - AA, ZZ, QM..QZ, XA..XZ).

Postscript on this topic:

The 10 flag symbols in the SoftBank and KDDI set make
no sense whatsoever *as a set* if interpreted primarily
as country symbols or flag symbols per se.

What does make sense, for understanding why these 10
and no others (while allowing for the possibility that
everything in all of the sets was the result of
haphazard decisions) is interpreting them as the most
common language/locale indicator icons. I.e., the
list really represents:

U.S. English
British English

Now *that* makes sense of a limited set of these symbols --
it is really what you would most likely see as identifying
language on websites, on publication lists, on other kinds
of items for sale in Japan -- and might well be the
original intent of this set by whoever was grabbing stuff
for the sets in the first place.

So while the KDDI documentation says of these things,
literally, "Russian national flag", etc., what I suspect
the full gloss should be is more like:

"[This glyph is an icon of the] Russian national flag
[standing for the Russian language/locale]."

It is a semiotic mistake here to just blandly assume that
because the icon in question is an image of the Russian
flag, that it is intended as a symbol *of* the flag
per se, and that thus we are obligated to go down the
road of international fairness and provide the opportunity
for *everybody* to encode their flag, too, just so nobody
is going to be miffed that their country was dissed by
the international standard.

Interpreting (and encoding) these 10 symbols as common
language/locale symbols, rather than as national flags
per se, will deal with the interoperability issue for wireless
transmapping, will avoid the whole political rathole of
trying to encode flags *as* flags, and will avoid the
nonsense of trying to architect a registration scheme
for future encoding of country flag symbols as characters.


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