Are diacritics NOW irrelevant ? (Re: [INDOLOGY] the koti

Dominic Goodall dominic.goodall at GMAIL.COM
Fri Nov 26 02:34:24 UTC 2010

Dear Jean-Luc,

On the subject of pointers to reviews of this work:

This critical review by Joseph Dauben mentions the various cautionary reviews by historians of mathematics from different fields that appeared in the “Bulletin de l’Association des Professeurs de Mathématiques de l’Enseignement Publique” of the French version from which the English book was expanded:

Dominic Goodall

On 25-Nov-2010, at 10:22 PM, Jean-Luc CHEVILLARD wrote:

> Dear Dominik W.,
> Dear Allen T.,
> As someone interested in Mathematics [for a very long time],
> I am sure this book has many qualities
> but STILL I believe praise should not be unqualified.
> The sample sent by Dominik shows that diacritics
> are not used in this book.
> (is "koti" the same as "kōṭi"?)*
> (is a RETROFLEX consonant the same thing as a DENTAL consonant?)
> [I have used "ō" because my field is Tamil
> and I MUST also distinguish between "koṭi" (கொடி) {"flag"} and "kōṭi" (கோடி) {"crore"}]
> This book illustrates a DISASTROUS trend
> (are philologists [and linguists] going to behave
> from now onwards like anthropologists?)
> It may be the case that Europeans (or "caucasians" ? ;-)
> are often unable to distinguish between "t" and "ṭ"
> and between "t" and "th"
> BUT this is not something to be encouraged.
> I personally vote AGAINST having this book on everybody's shelf
> until diacritics have been added.
> It might ALSO be useful to read the reviews which have been made of this book (thanks for pointers).
> -- Jean-Luc Chevillard
> On 23/11/2010 19:31, Dominik Wujastyk wrote:
>> Allen is quite right to say that Ifrah's magnificent book should be at all
>> our elbows.  It's an astonishing achievement, full of valuable reference
>> materials for South Asianists of all stamps.  I attach a quick scan of the
>> page from the "Dictionary" mentioned below, that has the entry on koṭi.
>> This is from my 1998 edition from Harvill Press, London, titled "The
>> Universal History of Numbers from Prehistory to the Invention of the
>> Computer" (ISBN
>> 186046324X<>
>> ).
>> Dominik

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