Re: Sinhala naming conventions

From: Naena Guru <>
Date: Sun, 15 Jul 2012 13:36:09 -0500


Thank you. I like this line of discussion than the constant effort to
condemn me for abstract crimes. I have not seen any standard whose
conditions stand in the way of proper implementation of Singhala on the
computer. There, my challenge stands 1. to show where I hurt Singhala by
romanizing. 2. to show how romanized Singhala violates any standard in what
specific way.
3. to show that romanized Singhala is inferior to Unicode Singhala in some
unique way that no other implementation of a language on the
computer displays.

I use Monier-Williams steadily because since of late, I have come to doubt
Lankan 'educated' class on the use of venerable Sanskrit. No one group of
people own Sanskrit. I see it as our (South Asian) reserve for clarity of
expression. This is certainly true for Singhala.

I consider Monier-Williams first an Indian and second of British decent --
an authority on Sanskrit:

The dictionary he compiled is maintained by Cologne University ( It
has been online for 3 or four years now. Before
that, I used a downloaded version. Two entries:

*lipi*f. (accord. to L. also %{lipI}) smearing , anointing &c. (see
%{-kara}) ; painting , drawing L. ; writing , letters , alphabet , art or
manner of writing Ka1v. Katha1s. [902,3] ; anything written , manuscript ,
inscription , letter , document Naish. Lalit. ; outward appearance
(%{lipim-Ap} , with gen. , `" to assume the appearance of "' ;
%{citrAM_at_lipiM} %{nI} , `" to decorate beautifully "') Vcar.
*lipisaMkhyA*f. a number of written characters L.

There you have it as it were straight from the horse's mouth. I feel safe
to use lipisaMkhyaa for text.

Please read my other responses inline:

On Tue, Jul 10, 2012 at 1:52 PM, Mahesh T. Pai <> wrote:

> Naena Guru said on Tue, Jul 10, 2012 at 10:31:10AM -0500,:
> > Another one I found was lipisaMkhyA, which means exactly what we
> > tern text.
> I am not sure of the context, but, there is a tradition of using text
> to write numbers. (samkhya = numbers)
> > Tamil Nadu where Indian linguists reside is closer to Colombo than
> Delhi I
> The late Sri P. V. Narasimha Rao, the former Prime Minister, knew 6 or
> 7 non-Indian languages; and IIRC, he used to give interviews to
> Spanish (or was it Portugese?). He was not a resident of Tamil Nadu,
Actually, I did not mean to put Southerners over Northerners (which latter
brought Sanskrit to the South! -- agasti during KulaSekara's time?). It is
just that I see lot of Tamil-like names mentioned. I think that there is
some language institute in Tamil Nadu which involves a lot in linguistics.

> Or is knowledge of that many languages not sufficient to qualify him
> as a linguist?
Why split hairs with 'linguist'? Indeed, he is a SaD-bhASA-parama-Izvara =
(sandhi) -> SaDbhASA paramezvara. It was like the top honorific given a

> (PS:- Ah. Well -- PV was refered to as a "polyglot"; not a "linguist"
> - you win)
Let's not get trapped by English semantics. The movers of the users of a
branch of study could adjust connotations for their benefit, or so it seems
in the IT field. Did you notice that lately the word script has been
redacted and 'character set' is used instead? What's with that?

Why do we generally understand 'transliteration' as shorthand for
transcribing from another script to Latin script? It is because, Latin
script is recognized by most people and it is the first script that is used
in the communication technology of a given era. It was so for letterpress
printing in the 1800s and now the computer. The plain truth is that
Latin-1, second to ASCII, is the best settled set of (coded) script
(characters set) on the computer. This is exactly why I romanized Singhala
into Latin-1. Verify that by going to the following web site and clicking
on the link that says, "Latin Script":

Latin-1 is not the complete repertoire of codepoints for letters *derived
from the proper Latin script*. It is the first part only. I'd say with
confidence that 99.9% of well established applications accept Latin-1 with
no problem. However, *most* of those applications *do not* accept accented
Latin characters used by PTS Pali and IAST Sanskrit (the ones with macron
bar and dots).

One of the detractors here called the Latin characters outside Latin-1
"Added Bonus". I have used these letters in the LIYANNA page of the web
site. There are separate conversion sections in it for Pali and Sanskrit.
Each of them have edit boxes to enter the language in one form and to get
it in the the other(s).
Singhala: (rom. Sing <-> Unicode
Pali: (rom. Sing <-> PTS Pali)
Sanskrit: (RS <-.> HK <-> IAST)

As a Singhalese, I know romanized Singhala is the best solution for
Singhala that *preserves* the language ensuring continuation from past to
present *without compromise*.

> --
> Mahesh T. Pai ||
> ``Those willing to give up a little liberty for a
> little security deserve neither security nor liberty''
Received on Sun Jul 15 2012 - 16:12:30 CDT

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