by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2005/11/13 03:01 -05:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2005/11/13/492179.aspx
A wise man (well, I think it was the comedian Emo Phillips, does he count?) once spoke the following little fable:
I had an argument with my father. I argued that Plato was the father of philosophy. My dad of course took the opposite position, that I should wax the kitchen floor.
I said: "Well, the kitchen floor doesn't exist! At least not in the permanent sense that the concept 'floor' does."
He said: "Do you think the concept 'your skull' exists?"
I said: 'Yes'. And then he surprised me by juxtaposing the two concepts.
Someone was trying to tell me about it the other day but I made it clear I had already heard it (my sources of knowledge are numerous but perhaps not impressive).
Later on, I decided I would juxtapose some things in a blog post. :-)
The concept of alphabetic case is interesting. And so is the concept of linguistic collation. So let's juxtapose those two concepts for a moment.
Which comes first -- uppercase or lowercase?
Well, in a binary sort, the answer is simple -- uppercase comes first. Every time. It is how code points are encoded in Unicode. Period.
In a dictionary, the uppercase also often does come first (or they are put together as multiple definitions in one entry).
In linguistic collations on Windows, in most locales1, lowercase by convention comes first.
Like I said in the post Why do the high surrogates have the low numbers?, however, it is simply a conceptual construct.
When you deal with collation in terms of weights, it is easy to take the uppercase letters as being somehow heavier since they are usually (bordering on always) bigger and taller.
I have had people tell me that they think this is incorrect; they believe that it should always be the other way around. But for the most part that is simply rebelling against the construct we are using, and preferring a different one.
So, those of you out there who think uppercase should be sorted before lowercase, what is the conceptual construct you are using?
1 - Bonus points for anyone who knows which collation(s) under Windows break this rule without testing them first!
This post brought to you by "ṏ" (U+1e4f, a.k.a. LATIN SMALL LETTER O WITH TILDE AND DIARESIS)
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2005/11/30 Expectations around collation
2005/11/26 Technically it *is* a hungarian sort
2005/11/18 Some sort of order to collation
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