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Re: Armenian numbering: findings, recommendations and request to CSS WG

From: Leif Halvard Silli <lhs@malform.no>
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2009 13:32:49 +0100
Message-ID: <499416F1.3040909@malform.no>
To: Daniel Glazman <daniel.glazman@disruptive-innovations.com>
CC: Richard Ishida <ishida@w3.org>, 'fantasai' <fantasai.lists@inkedblade.net>, www-style@w3.org, www-international@w3.org

Daniel Glazman 2009-02-12 08.54:
> 
> [resent, it apparently never hit www-style yesterday]
> 
> As I already told the CSS WG, an expert told me tonight that numbered
> lists using the traditional armenian numbering are very rare. She sent
> me a few minutes ago a mail telling me that even in liturgic documents,
> numbering is done using arabic numbers and almost never using armenian
> numbers, even in old sources.
> 
> Attached is a copy of the Gospel of Saint John.
> 
> So the question about 'armenian' mapping to 'lower-armenian' or
> 'upper-armenian' is probably not a hot issue: these values will
> remain underused anyway.
> 
> http://disruptive-innovations.com/zoo/csswg/ArmenianExample.jpg

In short, a photo of a modern Armenian Bible is a bad proof for 
the unrelevance of the Armenian enumeration system as that 
enumeration is a modern day phenomena accross most versions of 
modern Bible editions. [1][2][3]

*BUT* it could be, though, that traditional numeric Armenian 
numeric system might not be the most pressuring thing for Armenian 
internet users.  Wheras Armenican alphabetic list would be very 
relevant. Are there any langauge that doesn't use its alphabet for 
making simple alphabetically enumerated lists from time to time? 
Phonebooks exist in any language, right? (PS: I know that even 
alphabetical lists are a complicated matter.)

The CSS 3 lists module [4] makes a decent effort at listing all 
kinds of enumeration systems. The Armenian one that we are 
discussing, for example, is cathegorised as a algorithmic number 
system, as is the "lower-roman" and "upper-roman".

But the CSS 3 lists module is very bad when it comes to defining 
*systematic* names, that are usable for users, for the different 
listing systems. For example, if both "armenian", "upper-armenian" 
and "lower-armenian" is used as names for the algorithic Armenian 
numeric system, then what should the we pick as name for 
alphabetic Armenian system?

It seems to me that we could need something like the LTRU 
(Language Tag Registry Update working group) to go through the 
*names* for all the numeric systems of the world and come up with 
a simple and systematic naming.

Because, until we get a such systematic naming convention, then it 
will be very difficult to get users to use these these options, 
even if they exist.

For example, for Norwegians to refer to "Norwegian" lists as 
"upper-Norwegian" is backward. As if we are not using the Latin 
system just because we add ÆØÅ to the list? If, for example, we 
could add the Langauge tag for "Norwegian" to "upper-latin" in 
order to get Norwegian lists, then it would have been much simpler:

	upper-latin-no
Or even
	upper-alpha-no

(Where 'latn' is the language tagging code for 'latin'.) The 
latter option could also be applied for (the yet not specified) 
*alphabetic* Armenian:

	upper-alpha-hy
or
	alpha-hy

For non-alphabetic systems that still uses the alphabet to write 
the numbers, such as the traditional Armenian one that we discuss, 
one could e.g. use something like this (where 'Arm' is the 
language code for Armenian script):

	numb-Armn
or
	numb-hy

And if it is necassary to discern between Soviet style numbering 
for a particualr year and other styles, then such info could be 
added e.g. like this - in a similar way that Language Tags works:

	numb-hy-ussr1922

The lack of a coherent, systematic and simple naming system for 
the different list modules prevents uptake and use of these list 
types. It also prevents adding of new numeric and alphabetic lists 
for other languages and scripts, such as e.g. Cyrillic and 
Russian, Ukrainan etc.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geneva_Bible#Format
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:GenevaBible.JPG
[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible#Chapters_and_verses
[4] http://dev.w3.org/csswg/css3-lists/
-- 
leif halvard silli
Received on Thursday, 12 February 2009 12:49:59 GMT

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