[B-Greek] character test results so far

William Zeitler william at faithfulbible.com
Tue Apr 12 21:42:26 EDT 2005

>...vs. Unicode (two-byte characters from a
set of over 65,000 possibilities, including Greek characters).

Alas, it's not quite that simple. UTF-8 -- the recommended encoding method
for Unicode on this thread -- still represents the ASCII character set using
8-bit characters (one of its great virtues -- it's 'backwards compatible'
that way) and uses longer byte sequences as necessary for polytonic greek.
The unaccented greek characters are in the 'upper' ASCII character set
(128-255 -- because they are used in math, etc.) which is why those will
generally appear correctly, even in non-unicode capable browsers/email
clients/etc., even if the accented greek characters do not.

What you're describing is UTF-16. There's also UTF-32 -- a code space large
enough to represent, ultimately, every character used in every human
language past and present -- including math, etc. It's really a rather
remarkable project... see http://www.unicode.org/standard/principles.html


william zeitler

-----Original Message-----
From: b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org]On Behalf Of James Ernest
Sent: Tuesday, April 12, 2005 6:07 PM
To: B-Greek at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: RE: [B-Greek] character test results so far

> -----Original Message-----
> From: b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
> [mailto:b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Cirk Bejnar
> Sent: Monday, April 11, 2005 1:28 PM
> To: Carl W. Conrad; B-Greek at lists.ibiblio.org
> Subject: Re: [B-Greek] character test results so far
> --- "Carl W. Conrad" <cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu>
> wrote:
> >> These Unicode fonts may work very well for messages
> > sent directly to
> > subscribers from the original senders but they won't
> > work for messages sent
> > to the list because the list software uses only
> > plain-text ASCII. And the
> > repeated experiments by list-members attempting to
> > use Unicode fonts for
> > list-correspondence are wasted effort because the
> > list is not ready for
> > them yet.
> I am confused by this statement, which Dr. Conrad has
> made before.  The list software does _not_ convert the
> messages that it sends to me from Unicode to plain
> ASCII, because I can see the Greek fine, as I was able
> to see Dr. Buth's ü, and I am certainly not being
> cc'ed directly, ie I only get one copy of the message
> etc.
> Cirk R. Bejnar


I think you're confusing two distinctions: (1) plain (unformatted) text vs.
formatted text (HTML or "rich text"); (2) and ASCII (one-byte characters
from a set of 128 or 256 characters) vs. Unicode (two-byte characters from a
set of over 65,000 possibilities, including Greek characters).

What you've seen in the posts you refer to is plain-text Unicode. It works
for you because your system and application software are Unicode capable.

James Ernest

B-Greek home page: http://metalab.unc.edu/bgreek
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