Re: REALLY *not* Tamil - changing scripts (long)

Date: Mon Jul 29 2002 - 14:05:49 EDT

On 07/26/2002 10:46:16 PM "Addison Phillips [wM]" wrote:

>I dunno, Curtis. This sounds less like a job for Unicode and more like a
>for other mechanisms, such as user-defined locales...

>Granted that keyboarding is a pain if you choose a character collection
that is
>not represented by a convenient keyboard. But the real issues appear to be

>mostly in linguistically related processing (like word breaking, sentence
>breaking, collation, and the like). In most cases these are not something
>Unicode per-se can help with, but which user-defined locale data could....

If it takes some software developer creating a custom locale and then
hoping that other developers will support that locale in their software,
then that seems like a lot of obstacles, and is exactly why I'd say that
the Luiseño or any other small language community (such as our linguists
within SIL are working with regularly) need input from technically-minded
people when they devise their orthographies -- just as the linguists would
say that they really would benefit from having someone with linguistic
training involved in the development of their orthography. (Unfortunately,
I still have to get the message across to our linguists that they need
input from the technical people as well.)

It's very easy to implement fonts and input methods that handle unusual
characters. It's very difficult to get applications to recognise something
like "@" as a word-forming, alphabetic character. If apps happen to apply
the line-breaking, etc. behaviour that would be desired, you're in luck,
but if not, then you're not likely going to find it easy to get the IBMs
and Microsofts of the world to revise their software to support your
unusual behaviour. If one needs an extra character, Unicode has lots to
choose from, and tools like Fontographer and Tavultesoft Keyman are not
hard to work with (if you can find adequate fonts and only need a keyboard,
this is a pretty trivial problem to solve).

If I were Curtis, I would be inclined to actively advise my Tongva contacts
that their choices have implications if they desire to see their writing
system supported in commercial software, and that they might want to
consider some of the tradeoffs to the various alternatives facing them.

>That does leave you with the must less happy problem of finding a platform
>user defined locales (approximately no platforms conveniently do this).

Indeed, a big problem, which is why I would avoid it as much as possible.

- Peter

Peter Constable

Non-Roman Script Initiative, SIL International
7500 W. Camp Wisdom Rd., Dallas, TX 75236, USA
Tel: +1 972 708 7485
E-mail: <>

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