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Ugaritic Encoding For Unicode Email List

Date: Sat, 17 Mar 2001 14:02:49 -0500 (EST)
From: Jack Sasson <>
Subject: INVITATIONS: Ugaritic Encoding For Unicode Email List

From "Dean A. Snyder" <> came this invitation:


There is a push in some circles to get a computer encoding for Ugaritic
into Unicode (which is fast becoming THE international computer encoding).
This would be useful for computer-assisted research and publication in
Ugaritic studies.

Rather than see a non-optimal encoding adopted (with which we would all be
stuck for years) I have proposed that an international group of Ugaritic
scholars review and make corrections to the original proposal.

That is the purpose for setting up the Ugaritic email discussion list.
Hopefully we can arrive at a consensus on a formal proposal to the Unicode

If you would like to participate in this email list simply reply to 
me <> stating so.

I realize that many of the Ugaritologists are not very familiar with
computer issues. That is not a problem. I, and others, have a foot in both
camps and we are only asking for your expert advice on Ugaritic script
phenomena. (Several have already volunteered.) Moreover, the Unicode
experts are already dealing with Sumero-Akkadian cuneiform at the encoding

If you know of others who should be involved in the discussions please
inform them also.

Let's talk!

A little background -

Original proposal:

New, provisional proposal (contains comparison with original):

My comments on the original proposal:

>  The previous Ugaritic Unicode proposal has several crippling faults:
>  * Only 2 of the 30 characters have correct names - A and N!
>  * The character name "B" occurs twice.
>  * Slot number 24 (xx18) is missing.
>  * The ALEF (sic) glyph is drawn incorrectly.
>  * The M (sic) and Q (sic) glyphs are ambiguous.
>  * Many names are objectionable to Semitists (and impractical for anyone):
>     HH, HHH, TT, SS, SSS, GG, ZZZ, TY
>  * The word divider, though printed, is excluded by the ancillary wording.
>  For these reasons the previous proposal must not be approved!
>  Instead we need a new Ugaritic proposal, one approved by Ugaritic scholars.
>  [Notes on my proposal]
>  The character order follows that of the Ugaritic abecedaries.
>  The character names are based on a combination of the "native" Ugaritic
>  names (listed in Josef Tropper, 2000, Ugaritische Grammatik) and the
>  corresponding (cognate?) character names in other Semitic languages. (There
>  should be discussion about these names; I'm sure I have chosen badly for
>  some of them.)
>  The transliterations are only given for the convenience of Semitists.
>  I propose more paleographically-relevant glyphs (see Tropper).
>  Left unaddressed here are dividing lines, column lines, editor marks,
>  scribal errors, erasures, overwriting, strikethroughs, ligatures, etc. These
>  will demand some thought and discussion and will have a bearing on how we
>  treat similar phenomena in the ICE Sumero-Akkadian encoding proposal.


Dean A. Snyder
Senior Information Technology Specialist, Humanities
Research and Instructional Technologies, 167 Krieger Hall
School of Arts and Sciences, 426A Gilman Hall
The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA 21218
410-516-6021 office
410-961-8943 mobile
410-516-5508 fax email

Prepared by Robin Cover for The XML Cover Pages archive. See "Encoding and Markup for Texts of the Ancient Near East."

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