RE: Bengali: variants of same conjunct

From: Michael Kaplan (Trigeminal Inc.) (
Date: Thu Jun 22 2000 - 09:39:05 EDT

>But what is the semantic intent, then?
>In other words, what may mean the use of "elephant-trunk" ai vs the
"normal" one?
>What may mean the use of the rounded naa vs the "normal", two
parts, one?

I do not know enough about Tamil usage to understand THAT part. :-)

>Are we talking about that, by the way? And are they any other

That is the main one that I know of, but there are apparently other
ligatures from that section of the standard.

>> It is crucial that language as used should be possible to render
>> Unicode, should it not?

> >I disagree.
> >For example, when I want to insist on one point, I use several technics.
> >When I speak, I speak louder and a bit slower; when I wrote a note,
> >I use bolder font; on Internet, I use asterisks. All of these are part
> >of the language, and as such are to be kept with the text. But I do not
> >believe it have to be encoded in Unicode: this would simply lead too far
> >in a multi-language world.
Yes, but using different glyphs entirely, if there is a valid reason to use
one some times and the other on different occasions? This is a not a simple
matter of the letter "A" being shown in two different styles. I am presuming
(of course) that there is a real semantic reason for the difference, if
there is not then I agree with you.

Perhaps someone who knows the language can comment on the two usages?

> >Usage of glyphic variations is in my mind even less significant, so
> >should also be dropped.
See above. I will agree with you on this IF it is a mere style issue. The
fact that translators can give out single documents that have both usages
makes me suspect that this not a mere style issue.

> >> The ligatures you mention do not really call into the same category as
> >> the Tamil case, since all of them can be rendered using the 3.0 (or
> >> even the 2.0!) standard.
> >Please explain to me how you render the script form of using a
> >standard upright font like Helvetica (not the expert variation).
> >Or else the two-bowl form of g with Courier?
> >Or did I miss your point?
Yes, I think you did. In neither case do you have a single letter or
ligature that you would expect to be displayed two different ways within the
same body of text for reasons beyond mere style. I am postulating that this
may be the case here, but someone who knows the language could probably
explain whether this is actually the case.

> >> I do know that the TamilNadu government has specific issues with the
> >> Unicode standard, is this not one of the issues?
> >Perhaps, I do not know.
> >In fact, I cannot figure what issues the TN goverment really have.
Me neither. :-)

> >> Or do they prefer only the usage outlined in the standard, in order
> >> to encourage people to use it?
> >Please do not forget that while Tamil Nadu is the principal place where
> >Tamil is spoken, it is not the only one, as Tamil is spoken all around
> >the Indian Ocean.
Yes, but governments often shape language, so it struck me as one possible
reason for the use of only one variant in the Unicode standard, even when
there may be multiple variants used.

> >When I speak about French usage, I can only give testimonies. The various
> >French official agencies in charge of the language have a bit more power,
> >but it is far from things like "thou shalt use this rendering form"...
> >(for example, if a bill were passed to eradicate \oe or in French,
> >usage will survive for years, and Unicode will have to continue to
> >support it, not to mention the other French-speaking countries that may
> >easily chose to _not_ apply the bill themselves).
Which is why I postulated that perhaps this could have been one of the
concerns of TN... not enough representatives can cause confusion over what
the standard should support, can it not?


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