Michael Everson

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Michael Everson in 2011

Michael Everson (born January 9, 1963) is an American and Irish linguist, script encoder, typesetter, font designer, and publisher. He runs a publishing company called Evertype, through which he has published over a 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. He has been described as "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.


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). In 1989, his former professor 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. He currently lives in Port Laoise, County Laois.


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.

On July 1, 2012, Everson was appointed to the Volapük Academy by the Cifal, Brian R. Bishop, for his work in Volapük publishing.[7]

Encoding of scripts

Everson has been actively involved in the encoding of many scripts[8] 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, Mro, 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.

Font development

In 1995 he designed the 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.[9]

Conscript Unicode Registry

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

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.[10] 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[11] 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.[12] More recently, UNESCO's Initiative B@bel[13] funded Everson's work to encode the N'Ko and Balinese scripts.[14]

Work on a standard for Cornish

In 2007 he co-authored a proposal for a new standard written form of Cornish, called Kernowek Standard.[15] 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 corrections to it, publishing a formal specification in 2012.[16]

Publishing at Evertype

Everson has a particular interest in Gaelic typeface design, and does a considerable amount of work typesetting books in Irish, which he publishes through his publishing company, Evertype.[17]

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.[18] Translations are available in Cornish, Esperanto, French, German, Hawaiian, Irish, Italian, Jèrriais, Latin, Lingua Franca Nova, Lingwa de planeta, Low German, Manx, Mennonite Low German, Borain Picard, Sambahsa, Scots, Shavian transliteration, Swedish, Ulster Scots and Welsh and several other translations are being prepared.

As of March 2014 Evertype has published a total of 139 books.[19]


  1. Erard, Michael (2003-09-25). "For the World's ABC's, He Makes 1's and 0's". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-05-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Michael Everson (2007-01-27). "Papers formally submitted to the Unicode Technical Committee and ISO/IEC JTC1/SC2/WG2". Evertype.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Tenacity in religion, myth, and folklore". Evertype.com. Retrieved 2015-03-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "About Michael Everson". Evertype.com. Retrieved 2010-11-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "ISO 15924 Registration Authority". ISO, Unicode, Inc., & Evertype. 2004. Retrieved 2015-03-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "The Bulldog Award". Unicode, Inc. Retrieved 2015-03-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. [1] Archived January 23, 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  8. Michael Everson (2009-03-19). "Papers formally submitted to the Unicode Technical Committee and ISO/IEC JTC1/SC2/WG2 (Universal Character Set)". Evertype. Retrieved 2015-03-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Antinoou - A standard font for Coptic". Evertype. Retrieved 2015-03-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Michael Everson (1997-03-14). "Sami locales". Evertype. Retrieved 2015-03-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Everson, Michael; Roozbeh Pournader (2003-07-29). "Computer Locale Requirements for Afghanistan" (PDF). Evertype.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Lepage, Marc (April–June 2003). "Afghans beat language obstacle to entering digital age" (PDF). Poverty Alleviation Initiatives. United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. 13 (2).<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "UNESCO B@bel Initiative". Portal.unesco.org. Retrieved 2011-11-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. "Development of a Unicode standard for the West African Language N'ko". Multilingualism in Cyberspace. UNESCO. 2004-11-12. Retrieved 2015-03-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. [2] Archived September 27, 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  16. Williams, Nicholas. 2012. Desky Kernowek: A Complete Guide to Cornish. Cathair na Mart: Evertype. ISBN 978-1-904808-99-2
  17. Michael Everson (2006-10-05). "Books typeset by Michael Everson". Evertype. Retrieved 2015-03-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "Evertype Publications - Wonderland and Carrolliana". Evertype.com. Retrieved 2015-03-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "Evertype complete catalogue". Evertype.com. Retrieved 23 March 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links