Re: Sinhala naming conventions

From: Naena Guru <>
Date: Tue, 10 Jul 2012 10:31:10 -0500

I did not see the original message here and may be off the subject.
However, this seems to be about making computer related words.

Singhala is much more Indic than Sriramana thinks. (Oldest Brahmi was found
in Lanka). Its phoneme inventory is near Devanagari except Devanagari has
some Dravidian phonemes in addition and Singhala has the (OE) æ sound.
Sanskrit is the common core. Though Tamil is Dravidian, they (and Germans)
tend to be authoritative in Sanskrit. In this light, it makes eminent
sense, and if Sanskrit is preferred, that Indians compile the base names
for terms, and Lankans follow. Lankans, perhaps because the technocracy is
a guarded very small closed group, they tend not to be too deliberative,
and stamp down public criticism to guard their mistakes.

English is not strange to South Asian natives. I do not know why we need
to hurry localizing where that locality is mostly academic (unless there is
a commercial advantage for globalizing business, which could be damaging,
like it happened with Unicode Sinhala).

The ideal is for the terms to evolve by allowing the public to participate.
Let it take the natural course of time. Why should it be any different to
how it evolves in America for English? In Lanka, there is no discussion and
cooperation, only arrogant imposition.

In our experience, we have seen Lankan bureaucrats make howlers with
impunity. For example, mRdukaMga = 'soft parts' for software. (I am using
HK-Sanskrit transcription). Instead, I use 'anavya' (as an Indian friend
suggested) a perfect fit for the idea of program as I understand it as a
programmer. Then antarjAla = inter-net: but there is a subtle though an
important difference between connotations of net and network. We have
intuitive new Singhala words like පාපැදිය paapædiya for bicycle meaning
what-you-pedal. There are words like තරු වැල þaru væla (the stars) or තරු
කැල þaru kæla (those stars) where වැල and කැල suggest the entire collection
and a given collection respectively. May be they could be used when
considering network.

They published in SLS1134 a rule that says brandy should be transcribed
as බ්‍ර‌ැන්ඩි, which stands for the sound brunDi. Going by that erroneous
rule, the Sanskrit words, krUra and bahuzruta correctly spelled as ක්‍ර‌ෑර
and බහුශ්‍ර‌ැත would now be pronounced as krææra and bahuzræþa (using OE).
And Pali brūhi (HK Sans) brUhi would now be spoken as bææhi.

Thanks to Monier-Williams, at this ripe old age I discovered 'lipi
lekhana' to mean stationery than documents. No wonder some Indian linguists
politely say that there is Buddhist Sanskrit that misuse the language. I
think they mean us. Another one I found was lipisaMkhyA, which means
exactly what we tern text.

Tamil Nadu where Indian linguists reside is closer to Colombo than Delhi I
think we should not consider political boundaries when it comes to matters
regarding language and let India take the lead. (However IMO, using English
terms is best, but not like 'dongle' for flash drive as they do in Lanka).

On Mon, Jul 9, 2012 at 10:14 PM, Shriramana Sharma <>wrote:

> Changing the subject line.
> On Tue, Jul 10, 2012 at 7:19 AM, Harshula <> wrote:
> > 0D9A ක sinhala letter ka
> Hi -- while I agree with Michael that it would be better to have had a
> uniform naming standard across all Indic scripts which are perhaps
> more globally and country-neutrally termed as Brahmic scripts (and
> Sinhala is certainly a Brahmic scripts) I think it is not totally
> inappropriate to use the native names since the main target audience
> is indeed the native users. Unicode is a global standard, and it would
> not be inappropriate to acquiesce to native users' perceptions in
> cosmetic matters such as user names (since these would not result in
> technical problems).
> The South East Asian scripts despite being Brahmic are certainly not
> named after the Indic pattern. So why not Sinhala use its native
> conventions as well? The Indic naming pattern was largely a result of
> the GOI's desire to have a uniform naming across *Indic* (!= Brahmic,
> right now) scripts to facilitate production of cross-script pan-Indic
> software. if they had given the states free rein in naming stuff, we
> would have had quite confusing naming standards within Indic scripts
> itself I'm sure. Many Tamilians would probably like to see TAMIL
> LETTER LLLA named ZHA, but the ZHA of native Tamil perception would
> not correspond to the ZHA of Bengali (or Assamese or whatever)
> perception, resulting in confusion for software makers and hence
> unsatisfactory software and discontent all around!
> One will certainly agree that there is (quite naturally) less
> interconnection of India and Sri Lanka than between the Indian states
> themselves. It is quite unlikely the GOI is going to invest money in
> producing Sinhala fonts/software. This being so, if the Sri Lankan
> Govt wished to have their native names in the global standard to
> facilitate ease of production of fonts/software in Sri Lanka, there is
> nothing inappropriate in their asking the global standard-makers to
> label their script the way they prefer it.
> Whether the native names or the non-native names are used, either way,
> annotations or informative aliases would be needed.
> BTW there is no point in spending much more time writing on this,
> since it is a done thing.
> --
> Shriramana Sharma
Received on Tue Jul 10 2012 - 10:34:23 CDT

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