Re: Malayalam Zero - an error

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Sat Apr 09 2005 - 09:08:22 CST

  • Next message: John Hudson: "Re: Malayalam Zero - an error"

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "N. Ganesan" <>
    To: "Unicode List" <>
    Sent: Saturday, April 09, 2005 4:35 PM
    Subject: Re: Malayalam Zero - an error

    > Philippe VERDY wrote:
    >>but it may be necessary for texts written in the
    >>transitory period when the positional decimal
    >>system was adopted and the new
    >>zero digit introduced wih possible ambiguity
    > What is this transiitory period being talked about in terms of
    > years?

    Can anyone determine the length of this transition in terms of years?
    It was just said that there was another non-positional numeric system was
    used before the middle of the XIXth Century, and then a decimal positional
    system after; but the force of usage may have produced its effects for many
    years even after the positional system was used. May be the transitionwas
    short for commercial accounting activities, but I would not bet this on
    public use of numbers with personal letters, articistic works, religious

    Compare this with the recent introduction of Euros, or more significantly
    with the metric system in anglo-saxon countries. The transition period is
    still not finished, and many people still use and need the legacy system as
    they better understand them...
    Look at the transition from Old Francs to New Francs in the 1960's. Fourty
    years after, and although the transition was simple (a simple division of
    amounts by 100) there are still people that can't understand and appreciate
    any amount in New Francs, and this continues now with the Euro (so today
    those people still need to convert mentally amounts from Euros to Old
    Francs, and this usage is still very popular in the spoken language...)

    > How many books were printed with this?
    > Any *real* Malayalam books examples, please.

    Don't know.

    > Btw, do you read Malayalam?

    No for the language itself, but I can identify characters.

    > Have not seen a Malayalam book that uses
    > any fraction, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, etc., etc.,
    > for zero (0) glyph.

    I did not say that for other fractions. But the confusion currently present
    in the Unicode standard suggests that the confusion is still there in the
    "TTHA LETTER" glyph or "ONE HALF" glyph to use to mean zero.

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