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Getting off topic... Re: Languages and ASCII

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@sidar.org>
Date: Tue, 08 Feb 2005 02:06:49 +0100
To: "Jon Hanna" <jon@hackcraft.net>, "'wai-ig list'" <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <opslutdnwjw5l938@saturne>

On Tue, 8 Feb 2005 00:44:29 -0000, Jon Hanna <jon@hackcraft.net> wrote:

>> Bahasa melayu and bahasa indonesi - so at least 300 million
>> odd people can write their language.
> Actually, now I think of it, I think Latinised Japanese can get by in  
> ASCII as well, though I'm not sure.

Yep. Romaji allows japanese to be written using about 18 ascii characters.  
For hiragana / katakana (two of the three writing systems that are used in  
combination to write "real" japanese) Lynx does this too. But for most  
japanese speakers romaji is not very natural - a bit like, for example,  
including all the vowels in arabic text. (The hebrew equivalent, called  
nikud if I recall correctly, is derided by such experts as Joe Clark as  
being "kiddy hebrew", not realistic for adult use. I know less about  
hebrew than I do about arabic, so if someone can shed more light, please  

(There are probably other examples. I think Bislama works in ASCII, and  
maybe PNG pidgin. But I am pretty sure that the statistical relevance of  
others doesn't go far beyond these 5 named...)

> No, the "native" alphabet for Klingon is Latin with capitalisation being  
> phonetically significant. The "Klingon script" is mainly for show,  
> operates as a simple cypher for the Latin form, and is not used by the  
> Klingon Language Institute. It was proposed for addition to Unicode, but  
> the proposal was rejected, mainly on the basis of it being a simple  
> cypher for an existing script.

Fair enough. (There is a Klingon Language Institute?!?!)

> (For the record I'm a Unicode nerd, not a Star Trek nerd)

Clearly neither of these are my real area of expertise :-)

cheers and thanks for the correction.

Charles McCathieNevile - Vice Presidente - Fundacion Sidar
charles@sidar.org                      http://www.sidar.org
     (chaals is available for consulting at the moment)
Received on Tuesday, 8 February 2005 01:14:13 UTC

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