Vital Statistics

N. Ganesan naga_ganesan at HOTMAIL.COM
Sat Jan 8 16:06:32 UTC 2000

Just like decimal-place notation, factors like efficiency,
simplicity, and worldwide application are neeeded for writing. The
world space is shrinking day by day. The simplicity of the roman
script compared to nagari is evident to a layman or a draftsman.
Arabic or Nagari may be good  for calligraphy purposes. Religion
or language education is no longer the full occupations for many
people. As the Net and liberalization of economy away from GOI
spreads in India, use of roman is bound to accelerate.  As we
all know, it pays to use roman. Chapter on Writing Systems, The
atlas of languages, 1997 has a map: "The scripts of Newspapers
across the Globe" It says: "The extensive spread of that writing
system which was once the script of Rome is quite remarkable." In
most places in Americas, Europe, Africa, Australia, and in many
nations of Souteast Asia.

One option is Harvard-Kyoto convention for Sanskrit or Hindi:

                   a A i I u U R RR lR lRR e ai o au M H
                          k kh g gh G c ch j jh J
                          T Th D Dh N t th d dh n
                        p ph b bh m y r l v z S s h

The other choice is diacriticals and, it is wrong to say that
we need to put diacriticals all over - they are needed mainly
for vowels to retain Indian phonology. The Indian sounds will
*not* suffer if the phonological rules are taught along with a
latin script. As roman is Dominance-neutral in India, it will
integrate more and more.

N. Ganesan


In that case you are just talking about what would largely be a font
change from nagari to roman making use of 26*2 roman characters
( including caps). There would be some who would miss the cursive or
pretty indian scripts.

The bigger problem would be that with the prepoderence of english in
India, the roman alphabet will be taught along with all the associated
complex spelling rules of english which gives speakers subconscious
biases, conditions them not to recognize phonemes and makes it
difficult for many of them to mimic or pronounce non english words
unless they are close matches or rhyming words in english. There is a
danger of phonological aspect of Indian grammars being brushed aside
if roman alphabets are made the norm.

More about place value notation when I have time
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