Tamil Discussion archive

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: glyph choices for char.encoding -version 1.2

Dear Nagu:
> In my opinion we can leave Tamil Nuermals. Its something
> 99.99 % out of Tamil. Even if its needed in some special
> cases (assuming that the user will use some GUI systems),
> it can be done using different "fonts".
It has been said repeatedly that the purpose of the whole 
character encoding exercise is NOT just to simplify
word-processing of individuals BUT ALSO for electronic archiving
of our very rich ancient literature. Paper storage is fast
disappearing and we are already making transition to electronic
archival. Already there are major efforts at UC Berkeley, 
UCologne, UChicago of large scale electronic archiving of  
all of the tamil literature (old published ones as well as unpublished
ones still at the palm-leaf level). Prof. Hart already mentioned
Tamil Lexicon. Dr. Thomas Malten has a huge tamil electronic
archive that he would like to place on the WWW. Dr. James Nye
of U Chicago is looking forward to the day when the present
activities of microfilming of ancient tamil books will be turned into
electronic form. The need to have dedicated OCR packages for Tamil
has already been recognized by TNC. The amount of etext may be
symbolically small now but certainly in a decade we will have 
a significant part of the ancient tamil literature in electronic form.

Having said that, it is silly to say again and again that "let the
old characters -be tamil numerals or old style lai, nai etc go
elsewhere in some other font and let people have another
standard for this". We cannot have two fonts (and hence two
standards) for these related tasks, both to do with tamil computing.

As I said to Anu in my earlier postings, there is no compulsion
that everyone has to use every glyph that goes in the encoding
scheme. This statement applies not only to grantha but also to
those that are there to enable electronic archiving of ancient
literature. Please purge this notion from your head first.
I keep talking about these old style characters not because I am
going to use them for my present-day correspondance in tamil.
Certainly not .

We need to have one comprehensive character encoding for 
everything we want to do with tamil. So your statement - 
it can be done using different "fonts" - does not make sense to me. 
I am sorry that I keep repeating this - the message still seem
to be not getting through.

> Also because, it does not look good to "encode" two number
> system in an "ecnoding standard". One number can have only
> one code. How does it matter for calculations whether its
> Tamil number or Roman number.
When we include them I see them as some glyphs with which
the numerals were written in good old days. I have no plans to
use them (nor you) as a numeral. If you see it as another alphabet
glyph, where does the question of having two number scheme
appearing in the same scheme and associated mathematics arise?

> Yes the crux of the problem is we are trying to have TWO
Let alone the diacritical markers for a minute. Even with plain
ascii, people use them all the time to write transliterated tamil.
Already we all agreed to have keyboard input in the form
of transliterated tamil. We will soon decide on a standard for
transliteratd tamil. A 8-bit tamil/roman font will allow typing
tamil text using either scheme. So there will always be the 
possibility of having two encoding schemes for the same 
language. So I do not see anything extra-ordinary happening
here with Tamil. The above will be true with ANY 8-bit 
roman/indian language encoding scheme. 
You need to ban people writing in transliterated tamil if you
bold letters. I hate people using bold letters (it amounts to
shouting in internet norms) when they themselves have not 
understood the purpose of the current exercise.

I am sorry to state that, indirectly you seem to say the
same thing as Anu. In short, Nagu, the purpose of having 
old characters -whether it is tamil numerals or old style nai/lai, 
is NOT to force people to go back to these glyphs. 
They are there, I repeat, to facilitate electronic archiving 
activity of ancient tamil literature.

People like Prof. Schiffman see an absolute necessity for them.
If we do not put them, I guarantee you, that before long, all
electronic archiving activities of tamil will have their own fonts.
I am very much interested in promoting electronic archiving
of ancient tamil literature in accurate form. So is my concern here.

I also repeat that  UNICODE/ISCII schemes do have these
tamil numerals and I cannot see how one can have compatibility 
between the present schemes if one alone has some glyphs for 
which there are no counterparts in the other.

So, please re-orient your thinking/analysis on these lines
and let us discuss any technical problems if any to have these
old style characters along with the current ones.
If we are clear about what we will be doing with the proposed
tamil fonts in the coming decade, the reasons for above will 
become clear.


Home | Main Index | Thread Index