RE: Searching data: map countries to scripts

From: Phillips, Addison <>
Date: Tue, 21 Aug 2012 21:34:32 -0700

Doug opined:
> >>> I can state that for Israel the scripts in common use are Hebrew,
> >>> Latin (mainly for English but also for several other languages),
> >>> Arabic and Cyrillic.
> >>
> >> I do believe that Israel and Palestine (the Gaza Strip and West Bank
> >> areas) also use the Greek alphabet, because there are several Eastern
> >> Greek Orthodox assemblies there. Thank You!
> >
> > Right. And Armenian, Ethiopian, Coptic - and perhaps others scripts -
> > should be represented there as well. :-D
> And this is exactly where the nail, the jelly, and the tree come together. Where
> does one draw the line? If one person in Israel speaks Divehi and writes it in
> Thaana, does that count? How about five people, or twenty? Are we trying to
> collect all scripts used anywhere in the country, or just those in "common" use,
> and what does that mean?

On the one hand, it is eminently sensible, in most cases, to say something along the lines of "if you were to teleport to a random location in country X, and peered at signage (phone books/placards/the sides of busses/scrawling on paper napkins) then the script you would observe in use is HIGHLY likely to be Zxxx".

On the other hand, we can also say, without hardly thinking abou it, that this doesn't apply to all countries/regions/areas described by lines on a map nor to all populations contained therein nor to... well, lots of generalizations about language usage globally. The world is a big place, and, despite a certain homogeneity of scripts in modern times, is still fairly diverse culturally and linguistically.

How useful a country->script mapping is depends on what you're using it for. It is no better, in any case, than an approximation. But it may still be a useful approximation.

Your nail, tree, or jelly may vary in consistency.

Received on Tue Aug 21 2012 - 23:37:54 CDT

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