New and Old in Unicode 7
Written by Sue Gee   
Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Unicode already contains over 110,000 characters but when the next major version is released next year it will be expanded by a further 2,833, including some that are as yet undeciphered - and nobody knows what they are supposed to mean.

Unicode 7.0 introduces 23 new scripts, all of them of historical or limited modern usage, but the most "extreme" in this respect is Linear A, the as-yet undeciphered writing system from the Minoan civilization of ancient Crete.

Why, you might ask, is Unicode adding characters that are not immediately useful from the point of view of communication?

The answer presumably is that scholars who are working on ancient texts and fragments of inscriptions found on tablets, will find them helpful.

 

 

 

In his BabelStone blog post What's new in Unicode 7.0? Andrew West highlights Siddham and Grantha as other important additions and gives the complete list of 23 scripts, with links to Wikipedia:

These scripts account for 1849 of the new characters. Another 643 are wingdings, webdings and other pictographic symbols which certainly do convey messages:

 

 

West writes:

I predict that characters such as "Reversed Hand with Middle Finger Extended", "Reversed Victory Hand" (British equivalent of the finger), and "Raised Hand with Part Between Middle and Ring Fingers" (live long and prosper) will become even more popular on Twitter than the infamous "Pile of Poo"

a reference to a character that is part of the Emoji set which he explains was encoded for compatibility with Japanese cell phones.

West also explains why Unicode 7.0 will include character U+1F57, listed as "MAN IN BUSINESS SUIT LEVITATING" which has already attracted a lot of attention. The question is why?

The answer is simply that it is part of Microsoft's Webdings font.

 

unicodeman

 

So next time you want to write something in a dead language using an undecyphered script you just have to wait for Unicode 7.0 support.

It makes business man levitating look really useful.... 

 

More Information

What's new in Unicode 7.0?

BabelStone

Unicode

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Unicode Issues in Perl

 

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