Ideographic Tally Marks

In late 2015, I collaborated with Daisuke MIURA to submit a proposal (L2/15-328) to the UTC (Unicode Technical Committee) to encode the characters for four tally mark systems. The proposal was discussed during UTC #146, and the result was that the five ideographic tally mark characters were accepted. Good news.

The Script Ad Hoc Committee originally recommended in their report for UTC #146 (see page 9 of L2/15-037) that IDEOGRAPHIC TALLY DIGIT TWO not be encoded, because they felt that it could be unified with U+1D36E (COUNTING ROD TENS DIGIT SIX), but concerns over typographic consistency led to it being accepted as a separate character.

Anyway, I immediately submitted a revised proposal (L2/16-046) that includes only the five ideographic tally mark characters, with the UTC-approved names (IDEOGRAPHIC TALLY MARK ONE through IDEOGRAPHIC TALLY MARK FIVE) and tentative code points (U+1D372 through U+1D376 in the Counting Rod Numerals block), which will then be submitted to WG2 for approval at the ISO/IEC 10646 level. Note that an open source OpenType/CFF font is an attachment.

As for the characters for the other three tally mark systems, I am planning to submit a new proposal that includes only TALLY MARK ONE and TALLY MARK FIVE. TALLY MARK FIVE could have been accepted during UTC #146, but there are similar typographic concerns over TALLY MARK ONE, and I need to present enough evidence to demonstrate that an existing character—among those that look like a vertical bar—cannot be used for this purpose. Wish me luck!


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