Unicode 12 Adds Four New Scripts
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Thursday, 07 March 2019

There's an updated version of the Unicode Standard. Version 12.0 adds 554 characters, four new scripts, and 61 new emoji characters.

The Unicode Standard is used by all modern software and communications around the world, including operating systems, browsers, laptops, and smart phones—plus the Internet and Web (URLs, HTML, XML, CSS, JSON, etc.). The Unicode Standard, its associated standards, and data form the foundation for CLDR and ICU releases.

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The Unicode Consortium has voting members with an interest in text-processing standards, including Adobe, Apache, Apple, Emojipedia, Facebook, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and Yahoo among others. Technical decisions relating to the Unicode Standard are made by the Unicode Technical Committee (UTC).

The new scripts and characters in Version 12.0 add support for lesser-used languages including:

  • Elymaic, historically used to write Achaemenid Aramaic in the southwestern portion of modern-day Iran
  • Nandinagari, historically used to write Sanskrit and Kannada in southern India
  • Nyiakeng Puachue Hmong, used to write modern White Hmong and Green Hmong languages in Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, France, Australia, Canada, and the United States
  • Wancho, used to write the modern Wancho language in India, Myanmar, and Bhutan.

The support for lesser-used languages was also improved, with the ability to write several Miao and Yi dialects in China; and support for small letters in Hiragana and Katakana, both used to write archaic Japanese. There are also Improvements to Tamil and Lao. Ancient Egypt has been on the agenda, with new support for the Latin letters used in Egyptological and Ugaritic transliteration; and Hieroglyph format controls, enabling full formatting of quadrats for Egyptian Hieroglyphs.

As reported last month, emojis continue to be an area of expansion, with 61 new emoji characters, including several new emoji for accessibility.  These include emojis representing deaf people, blind people, people in wheelchairs, and those with prosthetic limbs. As is becoming more usual in emojis, the additions come in three genders (male, female, and genderless) and five skin tones. There's an ear with a hearing aid, distinct emojis for people in motorized and unmotorized wheelchairs, prosthetic arms and legs, both guide dogs and service dogs, and people with a cane as used by blind people. 

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More Information

Unicode - Official Site

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 07 March 2019 )