Re: Malayalam Zero - an error

From: Kenneth Whistler (
Date: Wed Apr 06 2005 - 15:12:36 CST

  • Next message: N. Ganesan: "Re: Malayalam Zero - an error?"

    Philippe responded...

    > > The error in the malayalam zero sign
    > > needs to be corrected.
    > If what you say there is true, ...

    [paragraphs of speculation about how to "fix" the problem omitted]

    Aye, but there's the rub.

    What the Unicode Standard has encoded for Malayalam zero
    (and has had encoded since Unicode 1.0 in 1991) matches
    exactly what is also described by the definitive article
    on Malayalam writing by K. P. Mohanan, Section 38 of
    Daniels and Bright, The World's Writing Systems. (1996)
    It also matches the description of Nakanishi (1980).

    Note also that a native speaker of Malayalam has been
    sitting on the UTC for many years now, and such an obvious
    "error" in the standard for his script is unlikely to have
    escaped his notice.

    Note also that a number of years' worth of review by
    Indian script experts organized by the Government of India
    have requested all kinds of changes and additions to the
    Indian script encodings for the Unicode Standard, but this
    particular item has not been among them.

    Note also that normal usage for digits in modern Malayalam
    text is ASCII 0..9, and not the traditional script digits.

    There may be some contention amongst Malayalam users in Kerala as to
    what the proper form for a digit zero using traditional
    Malayalam script digit forms should be -- perhaps influenced
    by digit zero forms in neighboring Dravidian scripts as well.

    In any case, it isn't helpful to just jump to conclusions
    every time an error is reported. The committees need to
    consider the possibility that the report of an error is itself
    in error (many such reports are), or that such a report
    needs to be considered in a context that modifies its
    import significantly.

    I consider the chances that the UTC will start "fixing"
    Malayalam digit zero along the lines that Philippe has
    suggested to be, well, close to zero.


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