Draft transliteration scheme on the Web

Anthony P Stone stone_catend at COMPUSERVE.COM
Wed Jun 17 11:59:24 UTC 1998

Dear Collegues

I believe the issues are becoming clearer.  On June 15, 1998, S Palaniappan

>P. S. Subrahmanyam in his Dravidian Comparative Phonology (1983), 
>p. 422-423 says the following.
>"Different symbols are used for its transcription by different authors:...
>As remarked by Emeneau (loc.cit,) it is futile to argue which symbol is 
>correct.   l_macr-b is used in the present work mainly because of 
>convenience in typing and printing. As pointed out by Burrow (1968b) 
>Krishnamurti's practice of writing z_dot-b for this sound in the 
>reconstructed forms in order to distinguish it from the corresponding 
>sound in Tamil-Malayalam and KannaDa (this reason was stated by 
>Krishnamurti) has little justification since there is no evidence that the

>concerned proto-sound is phonetically different from the corresponding 
>sound in Tamil-Malayalam."

>Thus in terms of their history they are virtually identical. But l_macr-b
>being used more widely than z_dot-b til today.
>My criterion would be to choose one which causes the least number 
>of people to change their system.

That is indeed something to take into account.

[As a footnote:]

>Right now when diacritic marks are not used in writing, the word 
>"Tamil_macr- b" is written just without the macron  as "Tamil" and 
>there is not much of a difference between the two. But, if one were 
>to follow the suggestion of z_dot-b, are we going to end up with two 
>different ways  "Tamiz" and "Tamil"? If the goal is to bring uniformity, 
>this will actually work against it. It is going to cause more confusion.

"Tamil" is a well established form in English.   One may see "Tamizh"
already, but there would be no real need for "Tamiz" to come in.   (The
standard is not going to suggest a simplified transliteration with the
diacritics simply omitted.    Without diacritics,  Tamil .t usually becomes
t and t becomes th.   Also .s usually becomes sh and "s becomes either sh
or s.)

[end of footnote]

On June 16, 1998, Bh. Krishnamurti wrote:

>I do not care what Palaniappan uses for Tamil. For Proto-Dravidian, 
>z-subdot makes better sense. As already pointed out by prof. Antony P. 
>Stone, subbar is used for alevolars consistently, _n, _r, _t. Let us not 
>confuse transliteration between Tamil and Proto-Dravidian. Let Tamil 
>scholars continue to use whatever they want. I appeal to Dr. Stone to 
>provide z-subdot for the benefit of those who decide  to use it.  . . .
> . . .
>If Tamil scholars think that the phonetics of _l and PD *.z are the same 
>(I do not know on what evidence!), they can use either of  their pet

Now I am getting things clear in my mind!   The proposed standard is
required to deal with the transliteration of written symbols in actual
scripts.    As I understand it, treatment of PD is in fact transcription
[of sounds], which will  *not*  be covered by the standard.    So I see two

(A) l_macr-b in the standard.   This allows z_dot-b to be used for the PD
phoneme if a  distinction is desired.    

(B) z_dot-b in the standard.   No such scope. 

On June 16, 1998, Jean-Luc CHEVILLARD wrote:

>For people who, like me, are more interested in the study of (real?, 
>attested?, not-too-much-reconstructed?) Tamil literature (medieval, 
>classical, modern) than in general (or comparative) dravidian studies, 
>there seems to be no point in changing the transliteration scheme, 
>even though one can always adapt oneself.
>So, from this angle, the answer seems: 
>1st choice: keep l-sub-macron 
>2nd choice: if the majority wants it, accept z-subdot 
>3rd choice: do your best to avoid the clumsy r-double-subdot  (or
l-double-subdot !!!)

Certainly the forms with two dots below are ruled out on readability

I do not see any majority wanting z_dot-b for transliteration of scripts as
opposed to transcription of sounds.   I myself noticed the logical aspects
in its favour, but they are not decisive.    It now looks to me as if
l_macr-b might be best for transliteration, but I wait for responses to
this posting.  

Regards,   Tony

Dr Anthony P. Stone, Project Leader, ISO/TC46/SC2/WG12 Transliteration of
Indic scripts.   
20 Harding Close, Redbourn, St Albans, Herts, AL3 7NT, UK.     Tel: +44 (0)
1582 792 497
Email: stone_catend at compuserve.com                             Thinking
aloud on  transliteration:

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