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Re: font encoding -possible slot assignments for glyphs

Once more on old-style characters (for lai, Lai, nai, Nai, Ra Raa etc.)

I've already spoken up for this system because of the need in some
quarters by some scholars to show old texts in the way they were
originally printed, for *philological* purposes, i.e. to preserve
peculiarities of older texts that give historians and philologists etc.
some *clues* about where the text came from, who might have written it, or
some such.  There are actually many other peculiarities in glyph formation
that are not taken care of by this, but this would be a start.  Perhaps
they could be relagated to the far endof upper-ascii, or in some kind of
alternate file so they wouldn't "contaminate" the modern characters. Or
confuse them  in the ways that Muttu points out might be possible.
Remember also that just because Tamilnadu has gone over to this
system doesn't mean everybody has.  Otherwise those whose needs are not
met by this system will have to devise their own unicode for "older Tamil"
or some such.  

I should point out that before the introduction of moveable
type printing in India, there were many variants for many glyphs in most
Indian languages, and some of these variations are still current in
devanagari, I know.  Also in other languages the introduction of
sophisticated text processing like we have today has allowed scholars to 
reproduce their texts in an "authentic" way for the first time.
Previously they could not do this, and when computers first came along, we
were *all* told that the computer would obviate the need for all these
funny scripts that exist in the world.  I know that the people who work on
old Irish, for example, now print and edit their texts in the fonts that
exist for Irish, and don't put up with plain old computer roman.  Same for
an old Slavic script called Glagolitic.

 There must be a way to handle this.  The point here is if you are going
to teach these old scripts, you have to have the fonts to do it.  If you
were going to have a dictionary of all Tamil manuscripts that existed
before the 10th century, or of all Tamil inscriptions in the world, you'd
want it in the original form, and not in the (to me tasteless and
pedestrian) post-1978 form.  People who work on such things in other
languages (e.g. Sanskrit, Karosthi, etc.) want these old script forms, and
they will get them whether or not unicode allows them to be generated.

Hal Schiffman

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