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Michael Everson

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Everson in 2011

Michael Everson (born January 1963) is an American and Irish linguist, script encoder, typesetter, type designer and publisher. He runs a publishing company called Evertype, through which he has published over one hundred books since 2006.

His central area of expertise is with writing systems of the world, specifically in the representation of these systems in formats for computer and digital media. In 2003 Rick McGowan said he was "probably the world's leading expert in the computer encoding of scripts"[1] for his work to add a wide variety of scripts and characters to the Universal Character Set. Since 1993, he has written over two hundred proposals[2] which have added thousands of characters to ISO/IEC 10646 and the Unicode standard; as of 2003, he was credited as the leading contributor of Unicode proposals.[1]


Everson was born in Norristown, Pennsylvania, and moved to Tucson, Arizona, at the age of 12. His interest in the works of J. R. R. Tolkien led him to study Old English and then other Germanic languages. He read German, Spanish, and French for his B.A. at the University of Arizona (1985), and the History of Religions and Indo-European linguistics for his M.A. at the University of California, Los Angeles (1988)[citation needed].

In 1989, a former professor, Dr. Marija Gimbutas, asked him to read a paper[3] on Basque mythology at an Indo-Europeanist Conference held in Ireland; shortly thereafter he moved to Dublin, where he studied as a Fulbright Scholar in the Faculty of Celtic Studies, University College Dublin (1991).[4] He became a naturalized Irish citizen in 2000, although he retains American citizenship.[citation needed]


Everson is active in supporting minority-language communities, especially in the fields of character encoding standardization and internationalization. In addition to being one of the primary contributing editors of the Unicode Standard, he is also a contributing editor to ISO/IEC 10646, registrar for ISO 15924,[5] and subtag reviewer for BCP 47. He has contributed to the encoding of many scripts and characters in those standards, receiving the Unicode Bulldog Award in 2000[6] for his technical contributions to the development and promotion of the Unicode Standard. In 2004, Everson was appointed convenor of ISO TC46/WG3 (Conversion of Written Languages), which is responsible for transliteration standards.

Everson is one of the co-editors (along with Rick McGowan, Ken Whistler, and V.S. Umamaheswaran) of the Unicode roadmaps that detail actual and proposed allocations for current and future Unicode scripts and blocks.[7]

On July 1, 2012, Everson was appointed to the Volapük Academy by the Cifal, Brian R. Bishop, for his work in Volapük publishing.[8]

Encoding of scripts[edit]

Everson has been actively involved in the encoding of many scripts[9] in the Unicode and ISO/IEC 10646 standards, including Avestan, Balinese, Bamum, Bassa Vah, Batak, Braille, Brāhmī, Buginese, Buhid, Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics, Carian, Cham, Cherokee, Coptic, Cuneiform, Cypriot, Deseret, Duployan, Egyptian hieroglyphs, Elbasan, Ethiopic, Georgian, Glagolitic, Gothic, Hanunóo, Imperial Aramaic, Inscriptional Pahlavi, Inscriptional Parthian, Javanese, Kayah Li, Khmer, Lepcha, Limbu, Linear A, Linear B, Lycian, Lydian, Mandaic, Manichaean, Meitei Mayek, Mongolian, Myanmar, Nabataean, New Tai Lue, N'Ko, Ogham, Ol Chiki, Old Hungarian, Old Italic, Old North Arabian, Old Persian, Old South Arabian, Old Turkic, Osmanya, Palmyrene, Phaistos Disc, Phoenician, Rejang, Runic, Samaritan, Saurashtra, Shavian, Sinhala, Sundanese, Tagalog, Tagbanwa, Tai Le, Tai Tham, Thaana, Tibetan, Ugaritic, Vai, and Yi, as well as many characters belonging to the Latin, Greek, Cyrillic, and Arabic scripts.

Encoding of symbols[edit]

Everson authored or co-authored proposals for many symbol characters for encoding into Unicode and ISO/IEC 10646. Among those proposals submitted to ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 2/WG 2 that have been accepted and encoded: N2586R (U+267E PERMANENT PAPER SIGN and four other miscellaneous symbols[10] admitted into Unicode 4.1), N3727 (the 26 Regional Indicator Symbols used in pairs to generate national flags in emoji contexts;[11] adopted into Unicode 6.0), and N4783R2 (chess notation symbols[12] encoded into Unicode 11.0).

Among proposals that have not yet been approved for encoding: N1866 (an early proposal for encoding Blissymbols into the Supplementary Multilingual Plane of Unicode;[13] still listed in the SMP roadmap as of Unicode 15.0[14] although no further action had been taken on it for years).

Everson, along with Doug Ewell, Rebecca Bettencourt, Ricardo Bánffy, Eduardo Marín Silva, Elias Mårtenson, Mark Shoulson, Shawn Steele, and Rebecca Turner, is a contributor to the Terminals Working Group researching obscure characters found in legacy character sets used by home computers (or "microcomputers"), terminals, and other legacy devices made from the mid-1970s until the mid-1980s; thanks to their proposal L2/19-025, 212 graphic characters for compatibility with MSX, Commodore 64, and other microcomputers of the era, as well as Teletext, were encoded in the Symbols for Legacy Computing block,[15] while 731 additional characters from L2/21-235 have been accepted for a future version of the standard.[16]

Font development[edit]

In 1995 he designed a Unicode font, Everson Mono, a monospaced typeface with more than 4,800 characters. This font was the third Unicode-encoded font to contain a large number of characters from many character blocks, after Lucida Sans Unicode and Unihan font (both 1993). In 2007 he was commissioned by the International Association of Coptic Studies to create a standard free Unicode 5.1 font for Coptic, Antinoou, using the Sahidic style.[17]

Conscript Unicode Registry[edit]

Together with John Cowan, he is also responsible for the ConScript Unicode Registry, a project to coordinate the mapping of artificial scripts into the Unicode Private Use Area. Among the scripts "encoded" in the CSUR, Shavian and Deseret were eventually formally adopted into Unicode; two other conscripts under consideration are Tolkien's scripts of Tengwar and Cirth.

Language and locale information[edit]

Everson has also created locale and language information for many languages, from support for the Irish language and the other Celtic languages to the minority Languages of Finland.[18] In 2000, together with Trond Trosterud, he co-authored Software localization into Nynorsk Norwegian, a report commissioned by the Norwegian Language Council. In 2003 he was commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme to prepare a report[19] on the computer locale requirements for the major languages of Afghanistan (Pashto, Dari, and Uzbek), co-authored by Roozbeh Pournader, which was endorsed by the Ministry of Communications of the Afghan Transitional Islamic Administration.[20] More recently, UNESCO's Initiative B@bel[21] funded Everson's work to encode the N'Ko and Balinese scripts.[22]

Work on a standard for Cornish[edit]

In 2007 he co-authored a proposal for a new standard written form of Cornish, called Kernowek Standard.[23] Following the publication of the Standard Written Form in 2008, Everson and a group of other users examined the specification and implemented a set of modifications to it, publishing a formal specification in 2012.[24]

Publishing at Evertype[edit]

As of March 2014 Everson operates a publishing company, Evertype, through which he has published a total of 295 books.[25] These include a wide range of titles by various authors and editors, with Everson himself as co-author of one, editor of several, and having adapted or revised several more. He also designed fonts for several.[25]

Everson has a particular interest in Gaelic typeface design, and does a considerable amount of work typesetting books in Irish for publication by Evertype.[26]

Another project consists of his publications of translations of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in many languages, amongst which are minority languages and constructed languages.[27] Translations are available in Cornish, Esperanto, French, German, Hawaiian, Irish, Italian, Jèrriais, Ladino, Latin, Lingua Franca Nova, Lingwa de planeta, Low German, Manx, Mennonite Low German, Borain Picard, Sambahsa, Scots, Shavian transliteration, Swedish, Ulster Scots and Welsh, with several other translations being prepared.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b Erard, Michael (September 25, 2003). "For the World's ABC's, He Makes 1's and 0's". The New York Times. Retrieved May 23, 2008.
  2. ^ Everson, Michael (January 27, 2007). "Papers formally submitted to the Unicode Technical Committee and ISO/IEC JTC1/SC2/WG2". Evertype.
  3. ^ "Tenacity in religion, myth, and folklore". Evertype.com. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
  4. ^ "About Michael Everson". Evertype.com. Retrieved November 28, 2010.
  5. ^ "ISO 15924 Registration Authority". ISO, Unicode, Inc., & Evertype. 2004. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
  6. ^ "The Bulldog Award". Unicode, Inc. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
  7. ^ "Roadmaps to Unicode". unicode.org.
  8. ^ [1] Archived January 23, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Everson, Michael (March 19, 2009). "Papers formally submitted to the Unicode Technical Committee and ISO/IEC JTC1/SC2/WG2 (Universal Character Set)". Evertype. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
  10. ^ "Proposal to encode five miscellaneous symbols in the UCS" (PDF). unicode.org. September 4, 2003.
  11. ^ "Proposal to encode Regional Indicator Symbols in the UCS" (PDF). unicode.org. September 18, 2009.
  12. ^ "Proposal to encode symbols for chess notation" (PDF). unicode.org. January 26, 2017.
  13. ^ "Encoding Blissymbolics in Plane 1 of the UCS" (PDF). unicode.org. September 10, 1998.
  14. ^ "Roadmap to the SMP". unicode.org. April 9, 2023.
  15. ^ "Proposal to add characters from legacy computers and teletext to the UCS" (PDF). unicode.org. January 4, 2019.
  16. ^ "Approved Minutes of UTC Meeting 170". unicode.org. January 25, 2022.
  17. ^ "Antinoou - A standard font for Coptic". Evertype. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
  18. ^ Everson, Michael (March 14, 1997). "Sami locales". Evertype. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
  19. ^ Everson, Michael; Pournader, Roozbeh (July 29, 2003). "Computer Locale Requirements for Afghanistan" (PDF). Evertype.
  20. ^ Lepage, Marc (April–June 2003). "Afghans beat language obstacle to entering digital age" (PDF). Poverty Alleviation Initiatives. 13 (2). United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 12, 2006.
  21. ^ "UNESCO B@bel Initiative". Portal.unesco.org. Archived from the original on March 13, 2005. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
  22. ^ "Development of a Unicode standard for the West African Language N'ko". Multilingualism in Cyberspace. UNESCO. November 12, 2004. Archived from the original on January 7, 2016. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
  23. ^ [2] Archived September 27, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ Williams, Nicholas. 2012. Desky Kernowek: A Complete Guide to Cornish. Cathair na Mart: Evertype. ISBN 978-1-904808-99-2
  25. ^ a b "Evertype complete catalogue". Evertype.com. Retrieved December 26, 2019.
  26. ^ Everson, Michael (October 5, 2006). "Books typeset by Michael Everson". Evertype. Retrieved March 11, 2015.
  27. ^ "Evertype Publications - Wonderland and Carrolliana". Evertype.com. Retrieved March 11, 2015.

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