Liaison may not be the best role any more (for me)

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2007/06/22 13:31 -04:00, original URI:

I haven't talked about Tamil for a while, and I think that is mainly an exercise of the stages of grief. Not talking about is the denial phase, where I avoid acting like there is an issue by not mentioning it. But the problem is still there, so perhaps it is time to move to the next phase....

The problem is that I am theoretically the liaison between Unicode and INFITT (INternational Forum for Information Technology in Tamil), in practical terms that role no longer makes as much sense, since the overall participation and management of it has shifted from outside of Tamil Nadu to inside of it, and the general consensus of the people working in the group is to try to re-encode Tamil.

Since I don't agree with that, I know there are people who feel I am not the best person to argue their concerns. And those people are correct -- I will always do my job as a representative and relay any message I am asked to, but it is hard to synthesize passion when you don't agree with the opinion.

So it is probably best for me to resign as liaison. I'll stay within the working groups on both sides since I am still interested and knowledgeable, and just drop out of a role that I believe requires advocacy....

I'll end the post with a bit from Daniels and Bright, near the end of Section 39 (Tamil Writing):

Occasional proposals to change the individual symbols to purely alphabetic characters, by using vowel-initial allographs for all vowels, with consonant + puḷḷi for all consonants, have not been taken seriously; and they probably never will be, since the existing system represents Tamil syllables very well.

(Note that this is from 1996, before the first proposal to Unicode for such a change was ever received.)

Many people in Tamil Nadu do not feel this way, of course. And I suspect it will be many years before this is fully accepted.

To be honest, the whole thing reminds me of analogous issues with Korean where people in government and scholars disagree (and sometimes scholars and other scholars disagree), leaving people in the middle with only the hope of software helping them represent text in the meantime....

(I guess I have moved into acceptance at this point, or maybe it is just bargaining!)


This post brought to you by (U+0b83, a.k.a. TAMIL SIGN VISARGA, a.k.a. aythem, a.k.a. āytam)

# Dean Harding on 24 Jun 2007 5:50 AM:

I wouldn't be planning any trips to Tamil Nadu if I were you :p

Seriously, though, if they want to come up with their own encoding, that's their choice I guess. But then it's the  Unicode Consortium's prerogative to ignore it :-)

# Michael S. Kaplan on 24 Jun 2007 3:35 PM:

Yep, that's about where things sit now....

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