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RE: SHEI - Qui tacet consentit

From: <Manuel.CARRASCO-BENITEZ@ec.europa.eu>
Date: Fri, 2 Jul 2010 00:44:28 +0200
Message-ID: <53A5EC4CCDD1274EA568F80CF4362E958C68D2@S-DC-EXM35.net1.cec.eu.int>
To: <ishida@w3.org>, <public-multilingualweb@w3.org>
As per the instructions of Richard, I moved the SHEI thread to the new public list and due to a starting hiccup I re-posted to the partners list: the new public list seems to be working now.

To facilitate the gathering of all the information into one place, I created a new page in the wiki

The most relevant parts are:

= Business case =
There is no multilingual symbol. It is hard to represent graphically the concept multilingual in a clean way: lots for little flags is messy. Two examples of usage:
 * Promotional: a poster with ? will identify immediately that the activity is multilingual
 * Technical: language selector in web pages 

= Reasons for using a letter, and in particular ? =
 * Neutral; i.e., old Egyptian is old enough
 * Little used outside the writing in Coptic; i.e., not loaded with other meanings

= Objections of Jörg Schütz =
1. Do ordinary people understand the symbol and its intention?

2. The Coptic language is still alive and used by the Coptic christian community. Using symbols from this language might open certain interpretations, and question the reach of the project's approach.

= Answers =
1. No. It is a new meaning for ? and neither ordinary people or experts understand the symbol and its intention. Indeed, the MultilingualWeb Project should propagate this new meaning for ?. It will take a few years.

2. It is very much a valid concern. Indeed, one does not want a similar situation to the Red Cross that is the Red Crescent is some countries.

The situation of Coptic is similar to Latin: Coptic is the liturgical language of the Coptic Church, and Latin is the liturgical language of the Catholic Church; but these churches do not "own" these languages. Their roots are far deeper.

Coptic is simply the old Egyptian language.

Egypt, a muslin country, very much revindicate this cultural heritage. Also, it is a Middle East language with connections to the deep roots of writing, others non-Egyptian languages and conveniently non-European centric.

The ethnologue states: "Coptic. An extinct language of Egypt."

Jan Nelson checked:
"I ran the question of use of the SHEI past folks internally here to assess the risk. The feedback is that the probably risk is low enough that we (Microsoft)are happy to participate in a group that uses this character in the way intended."

Again, the full version is at

Received on Thursday, 1 July 2010 22:45:07 UTC

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