Tamil Numerals in IDNA - Re: WG Last Call for Four Primary IDNABIS I-Ds

Andrew Sullivan ajs at shinkuro.com
Fri Aug 21 19:39:08 CEST 2009

On Fri, Aug 21, 2009 at 07:04:39PM +0200, Elisabeth Blanconil wrote:
> French does not use Unicode. Unicode supports French.

That is a complete non-sequitur to John's remark.  His point is that
you just _cannot tell_ what language a label is in, period.
Therefore, if you want the language of the label to be significant --
however the label is encoded (Unicode, some ISO-8859 variant, or some
entirely new encoding scheme as yet uninvented, it makes no
difference) -- you are simply out of luck: we don't know what language
the label is "in", and therefore can't apply linguistically-sensitive

More importantly,
> We just speak of scripts and their correct semantic usage
> (orthotypography). When other characters are Tamil don't we know we
> are in a Tamil context?

No, you don't.  When you see the label, "exemple", are you in French?
How can you know?  What about if you see "ex3mple"?  "Canadi7n"?  (The
latter is how a now-defunct airline from Canada's name used to get
written on wags' Canadian keyboards, to reflect the airline's logo).

If you think those _are_ obviously French (in which case, I fear you
have not grown up in a bilingual country of poor spellers, as I did),
what about the hypothetical label "Häagen-Dazs"?  What language is
_that_ in?

> Our point is simple. Future is to idolects (support, authentication,
> etc.) and personalized presentations. We do not want anything that
> might prevent or delay innovations in that area.

Tough.  The world provides a context which limits our ability to do
certain things, and part of that world is the technology within it,
including all its limitations.  Just because we made a technology does
not mean that we control it completely.  It shapes us just as we have
shaped it.  In the present case, there is a limitation the technology
provides, and if you want around that limitation you need to replace
the technology.  I think the chances of DNSng being developed and
deployed within my remaining lifetime are very small, and surely its
non-deployment would also prevent or delay the innovations you want.


Andrew Sullivan
ajs at shinkuro.com
Shinkuro, Inc.

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