W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-xml-blueberry-comments@w3.org > August 2001

XML and Ethiopic

From: Senamirmir <smirmir@senamirmir.com>
Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2001 14:46:03 -0500
Message-ID: <000e01c1318c$66e2da10$020000ce@senamirmir.org>
To: <www-xml-blueberry-comments@w3.org>


I learned about the Blueberry draft a couple of weeks ago 
and since then I tried to read this list archive and the 
one at the xml-dev.

I am originally from Ethiopia and Amharic, the official 
language of the country, is my native language. In 1993, 
I wrote a book called eLaTeX on TeX typesetting system 
using Amharic. TeX uses something called "control sequences", 
similar to tags in markup languages, which can be redefined 
or mapped to aliases. Because of that feature it was 
possible to use Amharic control sequences (tags).

Now, XML 1.0, as it is stated in Blueberry draft, doesn't 
permit the use of markup language defined or created using 
Ethiopic. Ethiopic is a native writing system for many 
languages including Amharic and Tigregna. 

- Ethiopic is the official writing system of the land. It 
  is used in religion, educational systems, government 
  administration, media, private sectors, and others.
  Unless forced otherwise, people would benefit immensely
  from Amharic/Tigregna/... markup languages. 

- XML's support to Ethiopic means more than developing markup 
  languages with Amharic/Tigregna/... and solve problems. 
  It exposes the languages to new area where they need to 
  make progress; it forces awareness; and finally introduces 

- One of the goals set by XML spec, if I may quote, is "XML 
  documents shall be easy to create". If folks want their
  Amharic content in XML format, they must use elements,
  attributes, and entities named with non-Amharic language.
  That means they have to juggle between two languages to 
  produce Amharic XML documents. 

- Readily available problems that can be solved with XML are 
  numerous. For instance, the Hill Monastic Manuscript Library
  (HMML) (http://www.hmml.org) here in US is home to thousands 
  of Ethiopian manuscript microfilms. These manuscripts are 
  primarily written in Ge'ez and some in Amharic.  It would be 
  an ideal project to convert these manuscripts into electronic 
  form using XML. It is even more deserving if it is done with 
  XML's Ge'ez/Amharic markups.

  I have an Amharic dictionary open-source project which I 
  intended to produce in an XML form. I am expecting that
  this dictionary would be useful back in Ethiopia. My 
  primary plan is to use Amharic markup language, but as 
  things stand now, either I have to wait for blueberry or 
  use non-Amharic markups.

- The process took almost a decade for Ethiopic standardization 
  in Unicode.  Thanks to this effort, now web contents can be 
  served with Unicode. Many people, including developers and 
  users, are feed up of contents that are based on non-standard 
  character set. I am hoping we will not get into the same 
  experience with XML. 

Thank You,
-abass alamnehe
Received on Thursday, 30 August 2001 15:48:28 UTC

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