Friday, June 3, 2016

Encoding the Mayan Script: your Adopt-a-Character sponsorships at work

[Mayan Image] The first grant of funds from Unicode’s Adopt-a-Character program has been awarded to UC Berkeley’s Script Encoding Initiative (SEI), for the first two phases of a project to include Mayan hieroglyphs as Unicode characters.

Thanks go to our sponsors for providing funds to support this grant. Adopting a character helps the Unicode Consortium in its goal to support the world’s languages.

Mayan hieroglyphs were used from 250 BCE until the 1500s. Mayan textual records include historical, literary, religious, and mythological information, as well as a sophisticated mathematical system on par with that of the Romans. Mayan astronomical records continue to capture the attention of astronomers today. Including Mayan hieroglyphs as Unicode characters will allow them to be used on computers around the world. See more about Mayan.

Mayan is a complex script, requiring special support in layout and presentation. The first phase is a catalog and analysis of the Dresden codex, resulting in a draft set of Unicode atomic signs and composition mechanisms needed for full Mayan text. The second phase is based on that analysis: preparation of a proposal for layout and presentation mechanisms in Unicode text, using those atomic elements. These two phases are to be completed in 2017.