From: Michael Everson <>
Date: Tue, 10 Jul 2012 11:37:48 +0100

On 10 Jul 2012, at 10:10, Satyakam Phukan wrote:

> The answer to these responses is exactly and accurately provided by Mr Everson. I am telling about the "THE ENGLISH AND LATIN CONTROVERSY IN THE UNICODE STANDARD".

There isn't an English/Latin controversy in the Unicode Standard.

> The Latin script developed in ancient Roman civilisation and two nationalities are inheritors of the Roman heritage the Italians and the Romanians.

No, the inheritors of the Roman heritage are Aragonese, Aromanian, Arpitan, Asturian, Catalan Corsican, Emiliano-Romagnolo, French, Friulan, Galician, Italian, Jèrriais, Ladino, Leonese, Lombard, Mirandese, Neapolitan, Occitan, Picard, Piedmontese, Portuguese, Romanian, Romansh, Sardinian, Sicilian, Spanish, Venetian, and Walloon. And various French-, Portuguese-, and Spanish-based creoles.

> The number of English speakers using the Latin script is far more than the Italians and the Romanians put together.

There are at least 800 million native speakers of Romance languages. They outnumber the 380 million native speakers of English.

> How will it be if the Latin script is called the English script as is called so, by many ignorant people in the third world countries.

It's fine. Its just fine. We already call it "Latin". And we, the English speakers, who are in the minority compared to the Romance speakers, do not consider this to be in any way problematic or "controversial".

> This has exactly happened when the script that historically developed in ancient Assam then called Kamrup is internationally named as Bengali. Bengali have got it from the ancient Assamese and used it by adapting to their usage system because Assamese use it in a different way.

"Use it in a different way"? All you have complained about is the name of the script and the names of some characters. That is not a technical issue.

> Worth mentioning that Bengali may be considered a Sanskrit origin language but Assamese is not.

This doesn't matter. The Latin script is also used for Finnish and Tagalog.

> In the process they have omitted one important letter making it phonetically incomplete.

If you are referring to “ক্ষ“ it has already been explained that this "letter" is represented by a string of three "characters".

> It is right for any responsible international organisation be it Unicode or ISO to misrepresent something on the ground that one community is larger and more influential than the other ?

Nothing has been misrepresented. People can write the Assamese language right now, using Unicode. There is no problem to solve.

> The contents of the statements of Mr Michael Everson discriminating a smaller linguistic group in favour of a larger one, are in clear violation of the provisions enshrined in the UNIVERSAL DECLARATION ON LINGUISTIC RIGHTS, links to which are provided by Mr Everson himself in his personal website.

In the first place, I have defended and supported minority languages for over two decades, so you can give up on trying to show that I discriminate against smaller linguistic groups. Consider Irish, with 30,000 native speakers and maybe a million learners all of whom know English. Consider Hawaiian, with 600 native speakers. Consider Cornish, which died out but is being revived. Consider the tribal languages of India whose scripts I have helped encode. Consider everything else at . Don't go accusing me of discriminating against minorities.

YOUR language is spoken by 18 million people. You are not in danger. You can write your language using computers. All you're doing is complaining about the name of the script, which cannot be changed no matter how much you shout about the CONTROVERSY. There is no controversy.

I have read Shri Rajiv Bora's communication to the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology. He makes 5 points.

1) Assamese script is an independent having its own history of evolution. Historical evidence suggests that it might have derived from ancient 'Kamrupi' script. (So? This isn't a technical argument. The script used for the Burmese and Mon languages was originally developed by the Mon. One might argue that the script could even be named Mon. But it wasn't. It was named MYANMAR. And the Mon don't complain about it, because the encoding supports their orthography.)

2) The characters of Bengali script have some resemblance with Assamese script. (They look just alike. I mean, come on. If they looked different it would be easy to demonstrate.)

3) Phonetically Assamese characters are generally different from Bengali. (So? The Latin letters used in English are phonetically quite different from many of the letters used in Finnish, Irish, Welsh, French, German, Somali, and Zulu. The letter "c" itself can be pronounced [k s tʃ ts ʔ dz dʒ] in different languages.)

4. A few Assamese characters are missing in the current Unicode Code Chart of Bengali. (I don't believe this is true. U+09F0 has been encoded for Assamese "rô" and U+09F1 has been encoded for Assamese "wô" and Assamese "khyô" is represented by a sequence of three characters.)

5. A large number of characters available in the Bengali Code Chart are not used in Assamese Script. (So? Don't use them. There are 1,723 letters encoded which, according to their name, belong to the Latin script. No language uses all of them. All languages use a tiny subset of them, in fact.)

Shri Rajiv Bora is simply mistaken. His arguments do not constitute grounds to disunify Assamese script from Bengali.

Michael Everson *
Received on Tue Jul 10 2012 - 05:43:50 CDT

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