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27.1. Character Sets

The first challenge in internationalization is dealing with the staggering number of unique character shapes (called "glyphs") that occur in all the writing sytems of the world. This includes not only alphabets, but all ideographs (characters that indicate a whole word or concept) for languages such as Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.

27.1.1. 8-Bit Encoded Character Sets

Character encodings (or character sets) are organizations of characters—units of a written language system—in which each character is assigned a specific number. Each character may be associated with a number of different glyphs; for instance, the "close quote" character may be displayed using a " or » glyph, depending on the language. In addition, a single glyph may correspond to different characters, such as a comma serving as both the punctuation symbol for a pause in a sentence as well as a decimal indicator in some languages.


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