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Fw: New Orthography

>Return-Path: <ghart@socrates.berkeley.edu>
>Mail-For: <muthu@murasu.com>
>Date: Sun, 7 Sep 1997 08:27:18 -0800
>To: "Harold F. Schiffman" <haroldfs@ccat.sas.upenn.edu>,
>        Muthu Nedumaran <muthu@murasu.com>
>From: George Hart <ghart@socrates.berkeley.edu>
>Subject: New Orthography
>Just received Hal's latest on new vs. old.  Hal, the pre-1917 Russian
>script is far more sensible than the older Tamil orthography (lai, etc.),
>yet there is not one font or typewriter I have seen that uses it -- except
>perhaps for some highly specialized ones.  In any case, older manuscripts
>and inscriptions use all sorts of weird signs -- grantha, vaTTezuttu, etc.
>I completely agree with Hal that fonts for all these should be available,
>but I don't think we should include them in a standard font for modern
>Tamil.  If necessary, let's develop a second font for people who cannot
>live without these old-style ligatures.  In any case, I'd like to make one
>point: the old-style ligatures are not necessary to represent anything in
>manuscripts or inscriptions, as they do not encode any more or any
>different information than the new-style ones.  There is a one-to-one
>correspondence, and so, to my mind, there is no good argument for keeping
>This is quite different from, say, George Bernard Shaw's alphabet for
>English.  You may know that a book written in his alphabet is considerably
>(50%?) shorter than a normal English book.  But the alphabet does not
>encode as much information -- two, too, to, for example, are all written
>the same way.  Thus, a good argument can be made that it is inferior to the
>standard English alphabet.  This is simply not true of the new Tamil
>orthography -- to include the old characters is simply to invite people to
>use them, and to make all of our sorting algorithms break.  George.

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