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Re: [WMASTERS] charset and grantha


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Dr. Selva,

You wrote:

>    I know many must be very busy at this time, but
>    I would like to hear comments ( positive or negative or neutral),

I studied your proposals carefully.  I was impressed that the grantha sounds
could be emulated by a combination of native sounds and symbols.  However
 and here I am going into the unknown territory), new user interface designs
have an unpredictable life.  "QWERTY" is not the best keyboard design for
typing in English.  And certainly, anybody who is learning typing today
don't need to learn it.  It is quite trivial to remap the keyboard to any
standard the user desires.  And yet, QWERTY rules.  Most of the Editors on
IBM PC have to emulate WordStar or BRIEF control keys because of user
resistance.  If this is the case for products that are less than 100 years
old, one can only imagine how the literate Tamils will react to such radical

If we accept the notion that foreign sounds must be rendered phonetically in
Tamil, what is wrong in using the grantha characters?  They already have
user recognition and they do an excellent job rendering the sounds they are
supposed to represent.  I like Dr. Hart's idea of letting foreign characters
represent foreign sounds.  And if Tamil needs to be enhanced to render g, d,
b, and other voiced consonants, I would much rather take the letters and
sounds from Malayalam, Kannada and Telugu.  And ISCII conveniently provides
holes in the Tamil encoding standard to add the "missing" consonants if
Tamils choose to.

As Dr. Selva points out in his web pages, it is quite common for every
language to render foreign names in a manner acceptable to the local sounds.
If the English can render Thiruvallikeni as Triplicane, a Tamil can
certainly call London as Elanthanoor.   If you look at the old Tamil
translation of the Bible, you will see that the Tamil rendering of the
biblical names are closer to the middle eastern sounds than the Latinized
versions.  If both "Yesu" and "Jesus" are native approximations of a foreign
name, why should one be better than the other?

>    Further I've provided a character table, for a start, where the
>    positions I've chosen can be changed, based on other considerations,
>    if need be. I've devoted two places for diacritical markers
>    specifically for a later needs such as  to denote other phonemes.
>    I've included greek symbol mu ( since it is used for micro meter and
>    other purposes as well), copyright symbol and registered trade mark
>    symbol. I've omitted nju, njU, ngu, ngU, but I've indicated how
>    these can be written if ever we need to use. Also I've omitted
>    the numerical symbols for 10, 100, 1000. In tamil we have symbols
>    for various fractions etc. but these are not needed today. We
>    need to move forward with some insight and also as Kumar puts it
>    with some backward compatibility.

I like your character table because the characters are presorted just like
ASCII.  That make is simple to do sorting, searching and indexing and scores
of other CPU intensive operations.  I don't think we need Mu.  It is my
understanding that the copyright and trademark symbols are not really
required and they can be substituted with "(C)" and "(TM)" if needed.  It
appears to me that any proposed standard will have to include a user-defined
substitute character table ( to render the special characters for Om, the
symbols for month and year, Pillaiyar suzhi, etc., that are commonly used in
marriage invitations and religious announcements etc.)

In summary, let us keep the grantha letters as they are to exploit the user
familiarity.  If we need new letters for new sounds, let us take them from
other Dravidian languages or old brahmi.  But we should not slavishly take
foreign words into the language without atleast trying to use the Tamil
roots.  Creating and reusing the Tamil roots will enhance the expressive
power of the language.

Mani M. Manivannan
Fremont, CA, USA.
P.S. If you have Anjal font, can you read the following?
x̑x.  fx.


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