|Unicode 13 Released|
|Written by Kay Ewbank|
|Friday, 13 March 2020|
There's an updated version of the Unicode Standard. Version 13.0 adds 554 characters, four new scripts, and 61 new emoji characters.
The Unicode Standard is used by all modern software and communications around the world, including operating systems, browsers, laptops, and smart phones, as well as the Web. The Unicode Standard, its associated standards, and data form the foundation for CLDR and ICU releases.
This year's collection of new scripts and characters add the ability to write in script for Hausa and Wolof in the Arabic language group, along with Hindko and Punjabi in Pakistan. There are also Bopomofo additions for Cantonese.
Not all the languages supported by Unicode are modern, and this version adds support for a number of languages used for scholarly work, including Yezidi, historically used in Iraq and Georgia for liturgical purposes, and Chorasmian, historically used in Central Asia across Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan. Other additions in this area are Dives Akuru, historically used in the Maldives until the 20th century, and Khitan Small Script, historically used in northern China.
As reported earlier this year, 55 emoji characters have been added including several new emoji for smileys, gender neutral people, animals, and the potted plant. There are also 214 new graphic characters designed to provide compatibility with home computers from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s and with early teletext broadcasting standards, as in the image below of terminal graphics figures from the Apple II set.
The Unicode Consortium has voting members with an interest in text-processing standards, including Adobe, Apache, Apple, Emojipedia, Facebook, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and Yahoo among others. Technical decisions relating to the Unicode Standard are made by the Unicode Technical Committee (UTC).