Vital Statistics

Bharat Gupt abhinav at DEL3.VSNL.NET.IN
Mon Jan 3 19:38:38 EST 2000


N. Ganesan wrote:
> Apart from the Western dominance, Roman script's
> simplicity is also an important factor.

Where is the simplicity ? If most Roman alphabets  have to be given  diacritical marks
or many have to be combined to indicate sounds absent in European tongues, their number
in practical usage goes above fifty as with Indian alphabets. The problem is not of the
script but of the sounds. If they are more in Indian languages, then there is more to
write also no matter in what way.

It is simpler for a European to read Hindi in Roman script and for a Hindian to read
English in Devanagarii. But the pronunciation in both cases suffers and has to be
corrected by the ear. The issue hence in not of convenience but ONLY OF DOMINANCE.

Take the case of Greek. Why have the Greeks not given up their script and changed to
Roman script ? It is not just a matter of identity, it is also losing accesibility to
ancient texts. In making the script simpler for modern Greek there is aready a damage.
The accents or rather the tones or svaras have been lost and thus pronunciation has been
affected.

Siilarly, Roman writing of Indian languages will damage the pronunciation and making
older manuscript all the more distant.

> Sanskrit or Tamil texts routinely appear in academic publications
> in Roman script with diacriticals. Without diacritical marks,
> the Harvard-Kyoto convention is used for the entire Monier-Williams
> dictionary and the Cologne scheme has the entire Tamil Sangam
> texts online.

This is for the sake of western Indologists not for the Indian people, lay or scholars.
Laboratory agenda is not for people. Far from Roman, not even Devanaagarii  can be
prescribed for the whole of India. Things are best left to a healthy growth and
evolution.

Bharat Gupt

[admin note: changed date from Fri, 4 Jan 1980 00:38:38 +0000]



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