Have a friend who loves typography or emoji, but hates material gifts of any kind?
Now there’s a present for them.
Starting this week, the Unicode Consortium will let donors “adopt” any one of the more than 120,000 characters contained in Unicode, the international computer-text standard. The proceeds will support the consortium’s efforts to represent more languages on screen.
The letter A, the interrobang, the poop emoji: All can now be symbolically yours for as little as $100. Higher sponsorship levels are available at $1,000 and $5,000. For their trouble, donors will receive a certificate, their name on the sponsor webpage, and the satisfaction that comes with being eternally linked to the world’s most important computer-text standard.
“Since we’ve started, our goal has been to enable all the languages of the world on computers,” said Mark Davis, the co-founder and president of the Unicode Consortium. While Unicode long ago tackled the most prominent languages, this new campaign is meant to provide funding “to attack the less prominent languages and less prominent characters of the world,” he said.
The 24-year-old Unicode standard currently encompasses glyphs from about 130 different writing systems, or scripts. Around 30 of these scripts cover the most common languages, like English, Chinese, Arabic, and Greek. (Davis himself led the development of the bi-directional algorithm, which permits Arabic and Hebrew to appear correctly on screen.) Another 30 cover lesser-used languages, like Cherokee or Syriac. And 70 scripts are included for scholarly or historical purposes, including Linear B and ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs.