Word rage is in Southeast Asia, too

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2005/11/05 22:33 -05:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2005/11/05/489505.aspx

Over at Language Log Plaza, Mark Lieberman's post Word rage outside the Anglosphere? gave me a chilling sense of deja vu.

Why? Well, because over on the Indic List hosted by the Unicode Consortium (and other places), we have some interesting rhetoric that has come up in relation to Tamil. Some choice quotes:

There is no need for forcing Tamil to take 16bit root. It is discriminatory and dictatorial on the part of Unicode to force an inferior, untechnical, unnecessary, 32bit formation on to Tamil. It is wrong on the part of Microsoft to entertain anti Tamil stand. It is wrong on the part of IBM to take anti Tamil root. It is wrong on the part of Apple to entertain an anti tamil stand, that Unicode is taking.

Tamil do not need 32 bit solution. It is being forced onto Tamil by people with ultirior motives.

I do not mean Unicode as enimi. I mean another most powerful language trying to gobbleup minority languages is an enimi language. You add fuel to that oppression by using their name visarga to WRONGLY discribe Aytham. Enimi is the oppressor and not Unicode nor UC. Visarga has much meaning. Aytham has much meaning. We do not want you to add fuel to that oppression.

Microsoft is being used by those people to drive their agenda. Please inform Microsoft that they may be liable for damages. We are already struggling with this ksh. Now thr, shra etc.. are being officially added to tamil keyboard through the back door. It is definitely an offensive action by Microsoft. they can not introduce new characters into Tamil use. The keyboard circulation must be stopped immediately. The thra, shra, and any other illegally introduced characters must be removed from MS Key sequence for Tamil.

There is much more than that, and worse (there were specific calls to 'crush the testicles' of those who harm the language, and worse), but certainly there is a great deal of violent rhetoroic out there, over issues with individual Tamil letters, the names of Tamil characters in Unicode, the makeup of Tamil conjuncts and ligatures, and much more....


This post broight to you by "" (U+0b83, TAMIL SIGN VISARGA)

# Required on 5 Nov 2005 11:17 PM:

hmm, I hate to break this to you, but by implying that Tamil speakers are native to Southeast Asia instead of the Indian subcontinent (or South Asia), you have invited their wrath on your testicles.
Obviously, you don't think Tamil is significant enough to even geo-locate correctly :-)

# Michael S. Kaplan on 5 Nov 2005 11:47 PM:

Acually, in this case I was careful in my words to try and match the location of the people I was quoting. :-)

But as a language that has speakers as far away as Canada, I figure that it is no worse than considering New Zealand a part of Western Europe.....

# Sathish on 6 Nov 2005 2:19 AM:

As a self proclaimed level headed tamil unicode developer I concur that there are unnecssary issues with tamil unicode because its stereotyped with other indic languages when its not the case mostly. Even with all issues, the tamil technical committee (infitt.org) has consciously promoted unicode over the previous 8-bit tscii standard accepting unicode as the real standard and hoping the future revisions would make it more bearable without breaking the backward compatibility. It still pains me to see all the problematic characters not showing up well especially on blogs (please search on blogsearch.google.com to see Tamil vs other Indic languages usage).

# Ray on 6 Nov 2005 4:21 AM:

NZ Western Europe? What now? Not unless you mean west west west west west south south south south south Europe :p

# Michael S. Kaplan on 6 Nov 2005 2:56 PM:

Ray, it is quite easy when you define code page 1252 as "Western European" and then use it in many other places throughout the world. :-)

# Michael S. Kaplan on 6 Nov 2005 2:58 PM:

Hi Sathish -- I will be blogging on my thoughts on the issues with Tamil at some point, as they are fascinating and perhaps even a bit frightening, at times.

But we do make progress, and products will continue to get better over time....

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