Transliteration Standards

Anshuman Pandey apandey at U.WASHINGTON.EDU
Fri Nov 21 22:03:47 UTC 1997

On Fri, 21 Nov 1997, David R. Israel wrote:

> Oddly, they've omitted Urdu (which would of course fall under the
> Perso-Arabic line).  As for the large array of language scripts
> traced to "BRAHMI" script, -- including Devanagari as well as a
> variety of other Indic scripts (including Tamil & Telugu) -- is this
> Brahmi some sort of proto-Sanskrit, or what? -- and are those So.
> Indian lang. scripts really tracable to common roots along with Skt.?

I'm active in the discussion on transliteration standards on the conv-dev
list (a list setup by John Clews specifically for WG12), and I had
initially raised the question of Urdu. I believe I recommended the tabling
of Urdu transliteration until the question was answered as to whether Urdu
ought to be transliterated according to the Indic or Arabic scheme. I
am in favor of having Urdu transliterated with the Arabic scheme (ie.
ZDMG, EI) because it represents the complete inventory of Urdu phonemes
more throughly than does the Indic scheme. However, this has some
disadvantages as well.

With regard to the latter half of the quoted message; yes, both the
Northern and Southern scripts of India, as well as those of Southeast Asia
(ie, Khmer, Thai) and Tibetan are derived from the Brahmi script, which is
in turn Aramaic in origin. However Brahmi is not "proto-Sanskrit." Brahmi
was a script used to inscribe Sanskrit; it was not a language of
its own. Seeing as how I am fairly noviced at this business of
orthography, I'll defer the technicalities to the specialists.

Anshuman Pandey

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