Re: Tamil Text Messaging in Mobile Phones

From: Michael \(michka\) Kaplan (
Date: Fri Jul 26 2002 - 08:23:21 EDT

From: "James Kass" <>

> The changes advocated seem to be more related to the Tamil script
> itself rather than the way that it is encoded.

The changes for "Linear Tamil" are to leave the encoding exactly the way
they have but to change all of the rules for re-ordering such that the
ordering for encoding is much closer to visual.

Text that is valid in the current encoding of Tamil is not valid using
Linear Tamil.

> Tamil's encoding is called logical encoding, as opposed to visual
> The reform proposals seem to point towards writing Tamil logically,
> in this sense meaning in the same order that it's encoded.

Actually, you have it backwards. "Linear Hebrew" would actually be *Visual*
Hebrew, with the current encoding being logical.

> Problems with displaying reformed Tamil text encoded in Unicode
> aren't related to the encoding itself; the encoding is fine. Problems
> arise when default operating system handling re-orders certain
> combinations, which is expected behaviour in traditional Tamil text,
> but is completely unwanted under the reform.

1) The suggestion of changes to the script are not relevant to the linear
Tamil issue since one will not make the other any easier or harder -- they
are independent issues

2) script reform is beyond the scope of both Unicode and INFITT's WG02.

> This was discussed a while ago on the OpenType list. If an approach
> were taken similar to that taken for Malayalam, which has traditional
> and reformed orthographies, then there shouldn't be any sacrifice of
> compatibility. With one script tag for traditional and a different
> script tag for reformed, a Unicode-engine could apply default
> complex rendering where it is required and only where it is required.

And this is defined where? Unicode defines rules here, a choice of a font to
ignore those rules is an interesting bow to compatibility with systems not
smart enough to handle complex scripts, but how can it be Unicode when it
happens, any more than Visual Hebrew is Unicode?

> Reform means change, though, and change implies that updates
> will be necessary. If a property of a character changes through
> popular use, then it's up to standards organizations to accomodate
> the change.

And when changes that are recognized by anyone are made, such things can
happen -- none of which relates to whether the encoding form of Tamil is
"linear" or not.

> Acceptance of any script reform is up to its users.

And an appropriate forum in which to discuss reform? Something that is
always complicated when a script is used by more than one country, and
further complicated by the fact that its association with "Linear Tamil" is
not really a true association.


Michael Kaplan
Trigeminal Software, Inc. --

International VB? --
C++? MSLU --

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Fri Jul 26 2002 - 06:58:41 EDT