by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2011/02/24 07:01 -05:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2011/02/24/10133351.aspx
THE MONGOLIAN (CYRILLIC) LANGUAGE INTERFACE PACK FOR WINDOWS 7 IS LIVE!
You can download the file for the 32-bit version or the 64-bit version.
Like the Turkmen LIP, it does not currently have a download page for reasons that are not the fault of any of the people i respect and which I don't feel like getting into....
The Mongolian Windows 7 LIP is produced as part of the Local Language Program sponsored by Public Sector.
A LITTLE BACKGROUND INFORMATION ON MONGOLIAN:
Number of Speakers:
Cyrillic script: ~2,500,000
Mongolian script: ~3,000,000 (difficult to obtain reliable figures on it)
Name in the language itself:
Khalkha Mongolian is the National language of Mongolia and is known to 90% of the population. It is now written using the Cyrillic alphabet, although in the past it was written using the Mongolian script. An official reintroduction of the old script was planned for 1994, but this has not yet taken place as older generations encountered difficulties (also, the lack of consistent and widespread support on computers has also had some impact here).
There is a tradition of giving names with unpleasant qualities to children born to a couple whose previous children have died, in the belief that the unpleasant name will mislead evil spirits seeking to steal the child. Muunokhoi 'Vicious Dog' may seem a strange name, but Mongolians have traditionally been given such taboo names to avoid misfortune and confuse evil spirits. Other examples include Nekhii 'Sheepskin', Nergüi 'No Name', Medekhgüi, 'I Don't Know', Khünbish 'Not A Human Being', Khenbish 'Nobody', Ogtbish 'Not At All', Enebish 'Not This One', Terbish 'Not That One'. This tradition is one that is also familar in other cultures such as in ethnic Judaism.
Click here for more information on the Mongolian Language.
Mongolian belongs to the Mongolic languages. The delimitation of the Mongolian language within Mongolic is a much disputed theoretical problem, one whose resolution would probably require a set of comparable linguistic criteria for all major varieties.
Click here for more information on the Mongolian classification.
As previously stated, in Mongolia (a.k.a. Outer Mongolia) the Cyrillic script is used, while in China (a.k.a. Inner Mongolia) the traditional Mongolian script is used. The literacy rates have been much higher in Mongolia since the switch to use the Cyrillic script, due to a large push to increase literacy. The fundamental change (from a "top to bottom, right to left" script to a "left to right, top to bottom" script) and the fact that that the latter is so much easier to support in technology may be having the same problems as other "formerly vertical scripts" have seen, though sufficient formal study is currently lacking.
Click here for more information on the use of the Cyrillic script with Monglian, and click here for more information on the use of the Mongolian script.
Mongolian is yet another locale for which we made the wrong decision in its LOCALE_SNAME/CultureInfo.Name value. By choosing mn-MN rather than mn-Cyrl-MN, we were left with adding another Mongolian and whether to name it with a consistent yet dfferent script mn-CN or an inconssistent but more accurate mn-Mong-CN. we went with the latter, but in retrospect we should have added the script since more than one script is used for the language. Lesson learned. :-)
I spoke about some of the technolgical challenges previously in Looking at life a bit more vertically, for a moment.... As with other scripts that have large tehnical challenges in user interface usage (e.g. Tibetan), I find myself uncomfortable with the impact that technology may well be having on the long term directions of growth. In the case of Mongolian, the fact that (for example) every version of Microsoft Access from the last ten years with the Mongolian Baiti font that now ship in Windows can do things like the following for both display and input controls:
may start helping the future of Mongolian where it is applicable, even if the UI issues in Windows itself are not addressed.
Michael S. Kaplan on 24 Feb 2011 9:50 AM:
Explaining the title -- the Downloading languages for Windows page only links to the 32-bit LIP even though both 32-bit and 64-bit exist -- the page has a similar problem for Turkmen.
John Cowan on 24 Feb 2011 4:28 PM:
IMAO, Mongolians shouldn't abandon their straightforward Cyrillic spelling system for an archaic Mongolian-script spelling that fits their language about as well as English spelling fits English. Doing so would turn what is now a straightforward and easy accomplishment into something that takes years to master, with many people never mastering it at all -- just like English.
A not-so-good reason for resistance to Mongolian script is that it's used in Inner Mongolia, and (Outer) Mongolians have long distrusted their Chinese relatives, considering them "too Han".
(This is the second time I've typed this comment -- I tried to post it this morning, but it may have been lost due to Internet problems rather than a problem with the blogging software. Still waiting for that third strike.)
Michael S. Kaplan on 24 Feb 2011 5:10 PM:
The conspiracy theory part of me wonders if China encouraging the traditional script for Mongolian is a way to keep up illiteracy vs. learning Han as the most common choices in Inner Mongolia....
Mongolian runs LtR on 24 Feb 2011 9:15 PM:
I guess you get your Mongolian data from the same informants who lie to you about Canadian English. Mongolian script has top-to-bottom character progression and <em>left-to-right</em> stacking order, meaning any system built for vertical text that assumess invariant RtL borks.
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