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RE: ASCII-only startup message?

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: ASCII-only startup message?
Date: Sun, 27 Dec 2015 09:42:36 -0800 (PST)

> >> Unicode has muddle[d] it further by bad names for these
> >> characters. I think ascii ' should have a name similar to ascii -
> >> (HYPHEN-MINUS) which shows that this is something used as a stand-in
> >> for several different characters.
> >
> > Yes.  And not just the names.  Unicode too has a single stand-in for
> > multiple (2) characters.  A single Unicode character is apparently
> > meant (recommended) to represent both the apostrophe and the right
> > single quotation mark.
> I don't agree. It *is* one character that is used in several ways,
> in that typographical traditional sees them as the same character.
> (Important for Unicode is also that no previous character set
> differentiated between them, because then it would have to as well, by
> its design decisions.)

Yes, we disagree.  We don't disagree that the Unicode standard can
define and recommend what it wants.  And Unicode takes multiple
languages into consideration and sometimes makes compromises.
That's to be expected.

We do disagree that an apostrophe is the same thing as a single
quotation mark.  The two might or might not look the same, but
they function quite differently.  Whether Unicode chooses one or
two characters to represent those different functions is, well,
a choice.

IOW, "it *is* one character" ONLY if one sees it or defines it
as such.  If not, it is not.

See the Q&A I referenced at the outset:
http://english.stackexchange.com/a/36048/51214.  Or google
"apostrophe versus quotation mark" or similar.

> That one character has several meanings, as the exclamation mark
> "!" also means factorial doesn't mean it needs to be seen as two 
> characters.

Correct.  It does not imply that it NEEDS to be seen as two
characters.  But it also does not imply that it NEEDS to be
seen as the one and the same character.

Consider the apostrophe and the prime mark.  You could argue
that they do not NEED to be seen as separate characters.  But
the (better) choice was made to use separate chars for them.

(And again, we're talking "characters" now, not their glyphs.)

Or consider character HYPHEN-MINUS (U+002D), character HYPHEN
(U+2010), and character MINUS SIGN (U+2212).

You might say that the first of these is analogous to the ASCII
apostrophe (U+0027) - it is essentially for compatibility.  But
Unicode clearly separated hyphen from minus.  NOT because they
necessarily *look* different, but because they *are* different -
they are *used* differently.

Unicode made choices, and no doubt good ones.  But they are
*choices*: same char for different uses of !, same char for
different uses of ’, but different chars for different uses
of − and -.  None of this was written in the stars; people
made choices.  Just as we are doing for Emacs.

> I suspect that the thought that the apostrophe is "another" character
> than one of the curly quotes wouldn't at all be so strong if the
> Unicode name for ' wasn't APOSTROPHE but instead was TYPEWRITER SINGLE

Again, the argument for having two characters is based not on
the appearance so much as on the different uses.  Ask what an
apostrophe IS and you will get the explanation that I cited
(http://english.stackexchange.com/a/36048/51214).  Ask what a
quotation mark IS and you will get an entirely different
explanation.  They are different things, whether or not someone
decides to represent them using the same character.

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