5.0051 R: Cyrillic Character Standards (2/58)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Tue, 14 May 91 22:37:28 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 5, No. 0051. Tuesday, 14 May 1991.

(1) Date: Tue, 14 May 91 07:43 EDT (46 lines)
From: DJBPITT@pittvms (David J. Birnbaum)
Subject: Re: 5.0035 [Cyrillic Character Coding]

(2) Date: Tue, 14 May 91 08:32:00 PST (12 lines)
From: Michael_Kessler.Hum@mailgate.sfsu.edu
Subject: Standardized Cyrillic character table

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Tue, 14 May 91 07:43 EDT
From: DJBPITT@pittvms
Subject: Re: 5.0035 Qs: CD-ROM life; Cyrillic Coding; Coptic Fonts (4/47)

Michel Lenoble writes:

>[I]s there a standardized character table for the cyrillic alphabet?

There is no standardized character table for Cyrillic in general (including
non-Slavic languages and pre-modern writing). There are several standards for
modern Slavic languages. There is a discussion, with code tables, in John
Clews's "Language automation worldwide: the development of character set
standards," (British Library R&D reports: 5962), Harrogate: Sesame, 1988.
Order from the publisher: Sesame Computer Projects, 8 Avenue Road, Harrogate,
North Yorkshire, HG2 7PG; ISBN 1-870095-01-4.

Clews's book refers to ISO DIS 8859/5 (for those new to these acronyms:
"International Standards Organization," "Draft International Standard"). This
has now been approved as a real International Standard with slight changes from
the mapping Clews provides.

The ISO 8859 character sets are 8-bit sets with identical Latin alphabet (ISO
646 IRV (="International Reference Version," which is more or less the same as
ASCII) characters in the lower 128 cells and varying upper halves. ISO 8859/5
combines Latin and Cyrillic. (The lower 32 cells of each half of the set, plus
cell 127, are reserved for control, rather than graphic, codes).

ISO 8859/5 is equivalent to ECMA-113 ("European Computer Manufacturers
Association"). ECMA standards are available from ECMA, 114 rue du
Rho^ne (that's a circumflex over the 'o'), CH 1204 Geneva.

The Cyrillic portion of ISO 8859/5 contains no guillemets (European quotes),
which makes it inadequate for basic Russian text processing. It also contains
no provisions for accent marks, which are used in a limited number of places in
standard Russian typography and widely in specialized publications. There is no
Ukrainian hard 'g' letter, despite the wide use of this letter outside the
Soviet Union and its increasingly frequent use within the Soviet Ukraine.
Those interested in Cyrillic character set design should subscribe to the
RusTeX-L ListServ (rustex-l@ubvm; subscribe by sending the usual request to
listserv@ubvm) and browse through the archives.

To summarize: there is no general Cyrillic standard, there are several Russian
(and modern Slavic Cyrillic) standards, and the newest and most popular is
flawed, fatally for Ukrainian and inconveniently for Russian.

Professor David J. Birnbaum djbpitt@vms.cis.pitt.edu [Internet]
The Royal York Apartments, #802 djbpitt@pittvms.bitnet [Bitnet]
3955 Bigelow Boulevard voice: 1-412-687-4653
Pittsburgh, PA 15213 USA fax: 1-412-624-9714

(2) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Tue, 14 May 91 08:32:00 PST
From: Michael_Kessler.Hum@mailgate.sfsu.edu
Subject: Standardized Cyrillic character table

I believe that there is a standardized Cyrillic character table that has
just been established. Here is what I experienced: a Cyrillic text
generated with PC-Lite can be checked by a spell checker developed in
the Soviet Union, but that is not the case with a text generated by
Academic Fonts. From further discussions I have had with Quicksoft, it
appears that they based their character table on a recently established
standard. The characters start at location 128 through 175, and then
224 through 247.