Vital Statistics

N. Ganesan naga_ganesan at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Jan 6 19:23:56 UTC 2000

>Even if we assume that indian scripts are derived from west asia.
>A paper plane flew in from west asia and was converted into a lear
>jet. Now we go back to the paper plane. The way english is
>represented by its alphabet is conceptually not a vast improvement
>over sumerian. The letters can mean so many things depending on
>context. And the speaker has to memorize each word. Its only the
>human brain which is peculiarly suited to memorizing a large number
>of context switches which makes the use such of such a poor
>conceptual system possible.

I am not sure that Indian scripts are lear jets contrasting with
paper planes. Agreed that grammar is well laid out (Panini &
TolkAppiyar) for Indian languages. But not the scripts. Why then
Roman script wins  in situations from tribal languages to Southeast
Asian languages  (abandoning their original letters from Pallavan
Grantha script). Apart from the Western dominance, Roman script's
simplicity is also an important factor.

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.

N. Ganesan

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