Unicode

Unicode is a standard for the consistent handling of text expressed in most of the world's writing systems. The standard is maintained by the Unicode Consortium, and as of March 2020, there is a repertoire of 143,859 characters, covering 154 modern and historic scripts, as well as multiple symbol sets and emoji. (1)

Klingon in Unicode

The Klingon letters (i.e. pIqaD) are not included in Unicode, causing the problem that computer fonts are not equally mapped (same keys can have different symbols) and that pIqaD cannot be used for email and social media communication.

Private Use Area

The Unicode chart has an area of non-defined letters which can be used by anyone for personal purpose. In 1997, Michael Everson created a standard for Klingon letters using this socalled "private Area". Several computer fonts use his chart, such as quja' and the Nokia Klingon fonts.

This encoding has been endorsed by the Klingon Language Institute.(2)
Klingon: U+F8D0 - U+F8FF
Code Description Transcription Key Glyph
U+F8D0 KLINGON LETTER A a a a
U+F8D1 KLINGON LETTER B b b b
U+F8D2 KLINGON LETTER CH ch c c
U+F8D3 KLINGON LETTER D D d d
U+F8D4 KLINGON LETTER E e e e
U+F8D5 KLINGON LETTER GH gh g g
U+F8D6 KLINGON LETTER H H h h
U+F8D7 KLINGON LETTER I I i i
U+F8D8 KLINGON LETTER J j j j
U+F8D9 KLINGON LETTER L l l l
U+F8DA KLINGON LETTER M m m m
U+F8DB KLINGON LETTER N n n n
U+F8DC KLINGON LETTER NG ng f f
U+F8DD KLINGON LETTER O o o o
U+F8DE KLINGON LETTER P p p p
U+F8DF KLINGON LETTER Q q k k
U+F8E0 KLINGON LETTER QH Q q q
U+F8E1 KLINGON LETTER R r r r
U+F8E2 KLINGON LETTER S S s s
U+F8E3 KLINGON LETTER T t t t
U+F8E4 KLINGON LETTER TLH tlh x x
U+F8E5 KLINGON LETTER U u u u
U+F8E6 KLINGON LETTER V v v v
U+F8E7 KLINGON LETTER W w w w
U+F8E8 KLINGON LETTER Y y y y
U+F8E9 KLINGON LETTER GLOTTAL STOP ' z z
U+F8EA (This position shall not be used)
U+F8EB (This position shall not be used)
U+F8EB (This position shall not be used)
U+F8ED (This position shall not be used)
U+F8EE (This position shall not be used)
U+F8EF (This position shall not be used)
U+F8F0 KLINGON DIGIT ZERO 0 0 1
U+F8F1 KLINGON DIGIT ONE 1 1 2
U+F8F2 KLINGON DIGIT TWO 2 2 3
U+F8F3 KLINGON DIGIT THREE 3 3 4
U+F8F4 KLINGON DIGIT FOUR 4 4 5
U+F8F5 KLINGON DIGIT FIVE 5 5 6
U+F8F6 KLINGON DIGIT SIX 6 6 7
U+F8F7 KLINGON DIGIT SEVEN 7 7 8
U+F8F8 KLINGON DIGIT EIGHT 8 8 9
U+F8F9 KLINGON DIGIT NINE 9 9 0
U+F8FA (This position shall not be used)
U+F8FB (This position shall not be used)
U+F8FC (This position shall not be used)
U+F8FD KLINGON COMMA , , ,
U+F8FE KLINGON FULL STOP . . .
U+F8FF KLINGON MUMMIFICATION GLYPH

When there was a discussion about whether Google's Noto fonts would support Klingon, it was rejected on the grounds that the font should not support characters in the PUA. Furthermore, including Klingon would've reduced the chances that it would be officially accepted by Unicode.(3)

Proposal to include Klingon in Unicode

First Proposal 1997

The first proposal to add Klingon to Unicode was made by Michael Everson on 18 September 1997(4), but the proposal(5) was rejected in May 2001 because of "lack of evidence of usage in published literature" and "lack of organized community interest" (6). The proposal to reject Klingon(7) (which was adopted(8)) also cited contributors' distaste at the prospect of encoding something as "silly" and "preposterous" as Klingon.

Incidentally, the proposal to add Tengwar was submitted at the same time, and met the usage requirement, and thus Tengwar was added to the roadmap. However, Tengwar was later blocked by IP issues, similar to Klingon.

New request 2016

Over time, as the usage of pIqaD has increased in public materials (such as Monopoly, Haynes Bird Of Prey Manual) and also within the community, the point of "missing usage and interest" has vanished. In November 2016, long term Klingonist and member of the KLI Mark Shoulson submitted a paper to the Unicode Consortium asking to encode pIqaD finally.(9) As always, this provoked discussion on the Unicode mailing list.(10)

They always said it wasn't encoded because people weren't using it: Shoulson disproves that claim in the document. The discussion on the Unicode mailing list started to heat up again; this time they were saying that there are problems with Paramount's copyright and all (see ➞ Copyright Issue), but Shoulson argues that this is not relevant, and even if it is, they should decide whether or not to encode and *then* worry about difficulties carrying that out.

Mark Shoulson had been talking to various UTC members, and the official UTC meeting was planned for November 2016. Nevertheless, the proposal was rejected even before being discussed at the meeting. That's why it's not listed in the list of UTC'S Non-Approvals.(11)

David Yonge-Mallo received some info about from the committee later(12):
  • the proposal missed the deadline for the November meeting, but is on the agenda for the January one
  • the good news is that the committee considers the evidence of use for Klingon is now sufficient
  • the rest of the proposal is in good shape (other than lack of a date), only the IP stands in the way
  • Tengwar was added to the roadmap before IP issues arose; adding Klingon to the roadmap has no real effect while IP issues are unresolved
  • their recommendation is that the Klingon community work towards getting the IP owners to engage with them to settle the IP issues

2020

A new proposal for encoding Klingon(13) was filed in July 2020, for the first time using proper Klingon names ('at, bay, chay,...) for the letters.

2021

In the mailing list discussions in 2016, Ken Whistler wrote(14) that what was needed was a proposal to rescind the "rejected" status of pIqaD before a proposal to encode it could be entertained. Accordingly, in August 2021, Mark Shoulson submitted such a request(15). Nevertheless, the Script Ad-Hoc committee declined to act on the request(16), and this was further discussed on the mailing list.(17)

2022

Efforts continue.

See also

References

1 : Unicode on Wikipedia, retrieved July 06, 2020

2 : ConScript Unicode Registry

3 : github comment on noto-fonts by David Yonge-Mallo, Aug. 29, 2014

4 : ConScript Unicode Registry on Wikipedia

5 : Proposal to encode Klingon in Plane 1 of ISO/IEC 10646-2 by Michael Everson, 18 Sep 2016

6 , 11 : UTC Archive of Notices of Non-Approval

7 : "Proposal to Formally Reject Klingon for Encoding" by Rick McGowan

8 : Motions of the UTC 87 / L2 184 Joint Meeting

9 : "Proposal to encode Klingon in Plane 1 of ISO/IEC 10646-2", by Mark Shoulson

10 : "The (Klingon) Empire Strikes Back", email thread.

12 : "pIqaD in Unicode--again", message on the mailing list by David Yonge-Mallo, Nov. 15, 2016

13 : "Proposal for Encoding Klingon in Unicode", by Mark Shoulson

14 : "Re: The (Klingon) Empire Strikes Back", message by Ken Whistler

15 : "Request to Remove Klingon from the “Not on the Roadmap” List", by Mark Shoulson

16 : "Recommendations to UTC #169 October 2021 on Script Proposals"

17 : "Difference between Klingon and Tengwar", email thread

Category: Software    Latest edit: 25 Aug 2022, by MarkShoulson    Created: 26 Mar 2015 by KlingonTeacher
History: r10 < r9 < r8 < r7 - View wiki text
 
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