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TECH: Unicode Private Use Area

From:David J. Peterson <dedalvs@...>
Date:Saturday, February 2, 2008, 8:55
The private use area of unicode has been brought up several
times when discussing font creation, and font displays.  I also
have seen the site where conlangers can use the private use
area for their own scripts.  Nevertheless, I'm afraid I still don't
quite understand how all this works.

(Note: If the questions below can be answered via a website,
just go ahead and post a link as your reply.)

This is how I understand the private use area:

(1) Unicode has designated that #'s X through X+n are for private
use, and won't be used for natural language scripts by Unicode
at any time in the future.

(2) If you're a conlanger and have created a brand new script,
you can go to Unicode, pick out some private use unicode #'s,
and then map your script characters to those numbers.

If this is accurate, then:

(a) What happens if two conlangers with two separate scripts
choose the same unicode numbers, in ignorance of one another's

(b) Does this mean that if one creates a unicode-compliant font
with one's script in the unicode #'s one has designed, then one
can use the code to display one's script on a website?

If (b) is the case, then...

(c) Wouldn't a viewer of your site have to download your new
unicode compliant font to view the page correctly?  And if that's
the case, then what's the difference between that and just creating
a regular old font with regular old mappings (e.g., the a keystroke
= your glyph for the vowel [a:], or whatever), and making viewers
of your website download *that* font to view your page?  Are we
hoping that one day some future version of unicode is going to
support our personal scripts, or something?

Thanks in advance for any information you can pass on!

"A male love inevivi i'ala'i oku i ue pokulu'ume o heki a."
"No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn."

-Jim Morrison


Philip Newton <philip.newton@...>
Mark J. Reed <markjreed@...>