Word splitting & hyphenation conventions in roman transliteration

Narayan S. Raja raja at IFA.HAWAII.EDU
Thu Feb 18 23:17:53 UTC 1999

On Mon, 15 Feb 1999, U Hayavadana wrote:

> i hope you were thinking, like me, of the new possibilities for fast
> production of printed materials using computers, not of the already
> existing composing by hand with lead letters on a stick. in practice we
> see that a lot of computerised data entry in indian printing is specific
> for a particular font scheme, dtp software etc., and if you want to use
> the same material in another printer's shop, you may have to enter all
> the text all over again. even though there's iscii, it isn't followed by
> everybody. but in western languages, if you've entered text in some word
> processor, say, wordperfect, you can easily extract that text (and
> usually text formatting too) for use in m$ word etc., and you can use
> the material in dtp software. the practical advantages are enormous. you
> can save great amounts of time. and that helps in spreading literacy.

The literacy rate in India,
which was about 19% when the
British went away, rose to
about 52% in 1990-91.  Last
year (1998) I saw two
newspaper reports that the
literacy had crossed 60%.
So, in recent years, the
literacy rate in % has been
increasing by about 1 point
per year.  I.e., in about 30
years at worst, the literacy
rate should cross 90%.

Also, primary school enrollment
as a percentage of eligible
population is over 90%.  Since
elementary school students are
literate, the literacy rate
should be over 90% when all
of us oldsters die off.

By either argument, it seems that
the literacy rate will be over 90%
30 years from now (at worst).
Actually it may happen sooner,
because some large states like
M.P. and A.P. have targeted
full literacy by 2020.

So the real question is: will
starting a brand new controversy
in India (about switching to
rOman skript) accelerate the
spread of literacy?



PS:  Of course, pointless controversies
     are valuable in themselves;  India
     desperately needs more of them.

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