We're drowning in LIPs!

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2006/02/03 08:31 -08:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/michkap/archive/2006/02/03/524139.aspx

You'd think we were at a Rolling Stones concert or something!

I do love to talk about those Language Interface Packs.

We now have not only the Nepali and Konkani LIPs, but we have two more -- for Bengali and Malayalam!

A Bit About Bengali বাংলা (Bāṇlā / Bangla)

Bengali is spoken in the region of eastern South Asia known as Bengal, comprising Bangladesh (where it is spoken by about 110 million people) and the Indian state of West Bengal  (where it is spoken by 55 million people). With more than 200 million speakers it is the second most widely spoken language on the Indian subcontinent and among the 5 languages with the most native speakers worldwide. Bengali is official language of Bangladesh, one of India’s official languages and official language of the Indian states of West Bengal and Tripura.
The dialect spoken in Kolkata, capital of West Bengal, is considered standard for Bengali as it is spoken in India. The dialect spoken in Bangladesh is different.

Bengali belongs to the Eastern Indo-Aryan languages which are part of the Indo-European language family. Together with its closest relatives Assemese and Oriya, Bengali is the most eastern of this large language family.

Bengali is written in the alphasyllabary called Bangla or Kutila-lipi which highly resembles the Devanagari script used for Sanskrit, Hindi or Nepali. The script consists of 12 vowel characters and 52 consonant characters. Like in all alphasyllabaries, or abugidas, characters for consonants have embedded vowels (or an extra diacritic showing that there is no vowel).

A Bit About Malayalam മലയാളം:

Not to be confused by Malay (which is spoken in Malaysia), Malayalam is spoken by approx. 35 million people in the state of Kerala in southern India. It is that state's official language and one of India's official languages.

Malayalam belongs to the Southern branch of the Dravidian languages and is most closely related to Tamil. The Dravidian languages are not related to the Indo-European languages spoken in the north of India (so that the term "Indic languages" is referring to a geographical, not a linguistic group).

Malayalam has a script of its own, an abugida of the Brahmic family. Like in all abugidas, or alphasyllabaries, characters for consonants have embedded vowels (or an extra diacritic showing that there is no vowel).

Now as I pointed out in the post Does Bengali sorting work?, the collation support for Bengali is not a part of XP SP2. And Malayalam is in the same boat there (you have to wait for Vista to get that particular feature).

But the LIPs themselves are available for XP SP2 right now!


This post brought to you by "" and "(U+0d37 and U+09b7, a.k.a. MALAYALAM LETTER SSA and BENGALI LETTER SSA)

# Maurits on Friday, February 03, 2006 11:55 AM:

Hey, a palindromic LIP :) Are there others?

# Michael S. Kaplan on Friday, February 03, 2006 12:20 PM:

Not at the moment. Reportedly, Malayalam is the longest language name in English that is a palindrome, though. :-)

# Shailesh on Friday, February 03, 2006 1:36 PM:

Bengali "compromising" Bangladesh! Did you mean "comprising" ?

# Michael S. Kaplan on Friday, February 03, 2006 1:43 PM:

Yikes! I need to start reading more closely the text I am grabbing!

Fixed now -- thanks for noticing that one, Shallesh. :-)

# Raj Nair on Friday, February 03, 2006 2:16 PM:

It was fun to use malayalam LIP, one transliteration reads “കട്ട ക്രമീകരണങ്ങള്‍” = stolen settings ;) they actually meant to say key settings.

Well, shortly after testing I removed it, and one fine thing it introduced was increased size of malayalam font, now I can easily read ID3 tags in WMP ;) And to my surpise even after removing LIP font settings remained same. Thanks MS.

Ps: still not sure when languages like ml going to have a common set of localization rules for every computer keywords so that an MS user wont get sick by reading OpenOffice/Google's (any other application for that matter) interface translation.

# മലയാളി on Friday, February 03, 2006 2:54 PM:


# Kaippally on Monday, February 13, 2006 10:12 PM:

Installation of the Malayalam LIP failex on My Legal windows XP sp2 . Any suggestions would be great.

After installation it says Rolling back and gives the message "Cannot install Malayalam Language Interface pack at this time.

# Michael S. Kaplan on Tuesday, February 14, 2006 12:15 AM:

Hello Kaippally,

Can you give me more information about what is happening -- like how far it goes into setup trying to install before failure? And a bit more about your  configuration, like whether you have any MUI languages installed?

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