Romanization

E50488 at EARN.JPNKUDPC E50488 at EARN.JPNKUDPC
Wed Oct 23 18:02:50 EDT 1991


This is my first attempt to send a message to this list; I hope it
works.
Dominik wonders about using Devanagari vs. Romanization.  I have not
given any thought to the problem in the context of Classical Indian
(i.e., Hindu etc) texts, but for Buddhist texts:  As far as I know,
one would be hard pressed to find an Indian Buddhist text which has
ever been written in Devanagari (before modern times, of course).
Shall we make fonts for Newari script and print our editions in these?
It doesn't sound very reasonable.  I think in the case of Buddhist
texts whether they be Ceylonese, Thai or Burmese Pali texts or
Nepalese, Central Asian or whatever Sanskrit texts, the historical
appeal to Devanagari (that the latter *far* outnumber etc) does not
apply.
Secondly, like, I am sure     most others who read Dominik's remarks
my first reaction was that the great advantage of Romanization is
that it enables easy analysis: we can split words, even break
compounds with hyphens, capitalize names, use italics and bold, etc.
It is true that one can use bold, italic and underlined Devanagari,
but at least for me it makes sometimes a rather odd impression (not
bold but the other types of odd fonts).In very many cases this is
more than enough reason to use Roman script.
Another problem in which I have no suggestions but only questions
concerns trading data and OCR.  The technology to input Nagari
in a number of different ways certainly exists.  BUT, for example,
Madhav Deshpande's beautiful Chiwriter Devanagari produces ASCII
code which is, as far as I know, still unconvertable to Romanized
Skt, and vice versa.  I do not know what kind of code the Nagari
programs for the Mac produce, but isn't it likely we will
encounter the same problems?  This means that unless I have the
same software as the scholar who inputs a text I will not be able
to read his data.  Or have I misunderstood this?
I am anxious to hear what others who have given the problem more
thought and have more expertise have to say.
-Jonathan Silk, at Kyoto University.




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