Re: Tibetan/Burmese/Khmer

From: Michael Everson (
Date: Thu Jan 16 1997 - 14:44:43 EST

There are documents around that talk about why Tibetan has been done like
it has been. Stacking behaviour in Tibetan was considered by many (though
perhaps not all) experts as being different from other conjunct behaviour.

Lee Collins said:

>The same argument could be made for Burmese, however, I spent 2 weeks in
>Burma working with Burmese standards, language experts, and school
>teachers to design a good UI for Burmese typing. I started with a
>protoype of Burmese on the Mac that used the virama. All new users
>actually preferred the virama implementation to having to learn
>additional key positions for subscripts.

Is the implication that Unicode/ISCII-type encoding will suit Burmese?

>Also, flexible virtual keyboards can actually hide the implementation of
>the virama from users.

It doesn't in the current Mac Tibetan, but the system there works really well.

>I would argue that the subscripts complicate the sorting. You can
>generate the proper subscript weight with a virama.

Of course sorting in Tibetan is a nightmare, being dependent on the root of
the syllable, not, strictly speaking, on the order of the characters in the
data store.

Michael Everson, Everson Gunn Teoranta
15 Port Chaeimhghein Íochtarach; Baile Átha Cliath 2; Éire (Ireland)
Gutháin:  +353 1 478-2597, +353 1 283-9396
27 Páirc an Fhéithlinn; Baile an Bhóthair; Co. Átha Cliath; Éire

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