Re: Brahmic harmonization

From: John Clews (
Date: Thu Jun 13 1996 - 05:33:35 EDT

In message <> I wrote the
following, with copies to Winifredo Abulencia, Mark Leisher, Rick McGowan,
Kenneth Whistler, Martin Duerst, Jim Agenbroad, John Okell.

Because I tried sending it off the list, I amended the headings to fit
(except there was an error, so several bounced back). I am therefore
resending it to unicode@Unicode.ORG as a whole.

There are distinct disadvantages in discussion _off_ the list - errors can
occur and people can fail to get the mail. Alternatively, some people send it
to "the specialist group" _and_also to unicode@Unicode.ORG, as a "belt and
braces" job, which means that those interested in the subject receive two

Mailing lists like unicode@Unicode.ORG have a purpose: let's use them as
intended for a wide range of topics - even those we are not interested
ourselves (as others have also suggested). There's always a Delete key you
can use.

Now I've got that off my chest, here's the original message for those who
failed to get it:

        * * * * * * * * *

> In message <> (Eng C.
> Born) writes:
> > It is a good idea to support Sanscrit and Pali. But, what do you mean
> > by Brahmin harmonization?
> This should be Brahmi (the script) not Brahmin. It is nothing to do with
> Hindu religion, or Hindu nationalism, as as has been suggested elsewhere. It
> is just the name of the script. It just means where scripts have the same
> repertoire, it is easiest for developers to be able to treat them in the same
> way.
> It is the same as if Latin script, Gaelic script and Gothic script were
> treated as separate scripts. It makes sense from a computer developer's point
> of view to treat each as a font of a common script.
> This happens to work well for all scripts in India, and as essentially the
> same repertoire for consonants and vowels applies to Burmese and Khmer, and
> as some traditions of sorting have also applied a common sorting arrangement,
> it is helpful for developers - and possibly for users too - to deal with them
> in the same way, where possible.
> Read Hugh Ross' recent ISO/IEC JTC1/SC2/WG2 paper, and many other earlier
> ISO/IEC JTC1/SC2/WG2 papers on this, including some by me, way back.
> > I saw a Sanscrit alphabet table in a dictionary once and it bears some
> > simalarity to the present khmer script. In my opinion, the code assignment
> > should be arranged as close as possible to the way each script are used and
> > taugh in school.
> Not necessarily. Who are the biggest users of the code tables? Mainly
> computer developers. Most end users do not look at a code table in their
> lives, though they do look at sorted lists. Any sorted lists can be achieved
> by sorting software.
> The reality is that much Burmese software is also likely to be written by
> developers who are also writing software for other scripts derived from
> Brahmi. It will be simplest and easiest to write software that behaves
> similarly accross all collections where possible, and then write the
> exceptions for Burmese, which will be invisible to the end user.
> Mapping to ISCII will ensure that similar applications are likely to work for
> Burmese as well as for many other Asian scripts, and that each developer
> would not need to write a special versions for Burmese. This would mean that
> Burmese versions of software would automatically be available and adaptable
> too: developers would not be put off the idea of writing separate Burmese
> verions because there was extra work for what they saw as a small market.
> As long as the _end_result_ to the end user is culturally aceptable to
> Burmese users, there is no reason why the _internal_coding_ should not be
> Brahmi related. The consonant and vowel repertoire of Burmese is the same as
> that for Devanagari and other mapped scripts in the draft version of ISCII
> (not a standard) adopted in both Unicode and in ISO/IEC 10646, and for that
> matter also identical to the consonant and vowel repertoire in the actual
> ISCII standard.
> John Clews

   John Clews (Chairman of ISO/TC46/SC2: Conversion of Written Languages)

SESAME Computer Projects, 8 Avenue Rd. * * email: Harrogate, HG2 7PG, United Kingdom * * telephone: +44 (0) 1423 888 432

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