Re: Malayalam Zero - an error

From: N. Ganesan (
Date: Thu Apr 07 2005 - 18:19:57 CST

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

    Dean Snyder:
    >My opinion is that a terribly wrong glyph in the standard should be
    >corrected, which is, in principle, all that Philippe was suggesting.

    John Hudson:
    >Change the glyph in the glyph charts. It wouldn't be the first time
    >that a more appropriate glyph has been substituted for a misleading

    Ken Whistler:
    >Philippe's *other* suggestions, regarding the alternative approach
    >of modifying the glyph for U+0D66, are reasonable, if the committees
    >come to a consensus that such a glyph change is needed.

    Philippe Verdy:
    >The above comments and references to external documents already
    >suggest that Malayalam digits are needed only for historical
    >numerals. But at that time, there was no decimal positional system
    >and no zero digit. So in fact the encoded zero is probably an error
    >(it should have been absent like for the Tamil script). In that
    >period however, the one half fraction was in use, and I doubt that
    >this fraction was used to represent zero, when the other existing
    >glyph for LETTER TTHA would have been more appropriate to represent
    >the new digit.

    Exactly. Unicode needs to correct the error in U+0D66 ,
    as shown in external documents. Just a simple glyph change
    for U+0D66 .

    Here is one way I think how the wrong glyph
    for Malayalam zero came into ISCII and then Unicode.
    Some bureaucrats from Delhi looked for Malayalam
    digits. Since there is no native Zero symbol
    in Malayalam, someone put the fraction (1/2) glyph
    in zero's slot. Zero's correct form is circle/oval.

    >So, the bug report seems to be right according to the references.

    Exactly. First we need to correct U+0DD6 glyph.
    Just a simple glyph change to effect the necessary

    >May be also a similar work could be done with Tamil...

    The correct glyph for Tamil digit Zero is in
    Unicode 4.1. We at Infitt wg on unicode sent the
    proposal to UTC with the pleasing news that
    it was accepted.

    Just saw the tech note on Tamil Zero by Michael Kaplan
    It is also an item in FAQ section
    "Q: What can you tell me about Tamil Digit Zero?
    A: "Tamil Digit Zero" is a modern innovation. For more information
    on Tamil digits please see Unicode Technical Note # 21: Tamil Numbers""

    Here, in all places of the string, "Tamil",
    FAQ entry can say "Tamil and Malayalam".
    Also, a Malayalam example of a 4 or 5 digit
    number using Mal. 10, 100, 1000 signs
    (very close to Tamil ones) can be added in addition to the 4 digit
    number given by Mike Kaplan. There is evidence
    at least from 1825 CE, Tamil has zero.
    The reference is at:">

    Tamil and Roman zero-less systems compared
    by MichKa:

    N. Ganesan

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