tlhIngan-Hol Archive: Thu Jun 25 02:03:49 2009

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Re: Klingon orthography

Michael Everson (

On 24 Jun 2009, at 21:47, Brent Kesler wrote:

> To Mr. Everson, you obviously understand Unicode in great detail,  
> but as someone who's hacked out a lot of Perl, the Q/q problem seems
> trivial.

Not everybody works at the level of regular expressions. You may have  
control of this problem in some environments. But there are other  
environments outside of your control.

This is ***NOT*** all about Google, but here's a Google analogy. Used  
to be, you could search for long-s by itself. You could look for  
CongreÅs and get only those hits which had that character. But there's  
an equivalence (not case pairing) between Å and s, and that's  
somewhere in the Unicode data files. Google ended up implementing  
this, and so functionality which I had used became lost. That was out  
of my control, and happened because of equivalences.

> On Wed, Jun 24, 2009 at 10:47 AM, Michael  
> Everson<> wrote:
>> Further, I also indicate that sorting operations are made more  
>> complex
>> if you attempt to treat a casing pair as two separate entities.
> How much more complex? Off the top of my head, I don't think
> controlling for Q/q is going bump a logarithmic sort algorithm into
> polynomial time, or even linear time. If I'm the programmer, it might
> annoy me, but if I run the server farm, I care more about processor
> cycles.

What I'd like to see is a system-level sort for Klingon so that the  
programmer doesn't have to do any jiggery-pokery to get it right.

>> Moreover, I outlined the political benefits of taking this data  
>> issue seriously in terms of an eventual re-try at encoding pIqaD.
> Really? pIqaD was rejected because there was "no substantial  
> information exchange in the script". I don't see how adopting  
> another orthography is going to fix that.

Oh, believe me... the reason that was given was not the only reason.  
There's a lot of people out there who scorn and ridicule this whole  
venture. They don't do the same for Esperanto. It's prejudicial.

I suggested that if a data issue like this was taken seriously by the  
community -- and so far I see some people who are willing to think  
about it, and some people who just don't want to make any changes.  
That's usual for spelling reform discussions.

> When it comes to Unicode and related technologies, you're the alpha  
> geek in this forum and all lesser geeks bow before you (like
> me: I'm clearly a dilletante on the subject).

Heh. Alpha geek. Well, I've been trying to help make the world better  
for Klingon for a long time.

> All the problems you raise would be major issues if our goal were  
> encoding a character set.

But that's not the goal. The character set (Latin) has already been  
encoded. The thing is that one feature of the pre-Unicode 1985  
orthography is not very compatible with character properties of two  
characters in that character set. What I'm doing is attempting to  
raise some awareness about that and to explore possibilities for  
ensuring that problems which do or could arise from incompatibility  
don't or can't.

> But since our goal is mastery of Klingon words and grammar and  
> actually using the language, the problems you mention are simply  
> problems we don't have. We can study, read, and write just fine the  
> way it is. Yeah, there are some quirks we need to work around, but  
> we've already adapted.

Reform is one way to avoid having to resort to workarounds.

Michael Everson *

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