Re: Burmese vowels

From: Michael Everson (
Date: Sat Oct 17 1998 - 06:51:04 EDT

Ar 14:55 -0700 1998-10-16, scríobh Arnd R. Strube:
>I am not sure who wrote what in the discussion below, so
> To whom it may concern...
>>The ui vowels were omitted by specific agreement of the
>>ad hoc group at WG2 that worked on the FPDAM text

[Uncalled-for invective deleted]

>1. There is NO SUCH THING as a "Burmese vowel sign ui". Speaking
>of a "Burmese vowel sign ui" just reveals gross ignorance of
>phonology and orthography of the Myanmar language.

This statement is unsubstantiated and differs significantly from
discussions of Myanmar phonology available to me in numerous sources.

>5. If you are assuming that, because the script is related to
>Indic scripts, so is the phonological structure of the Myanmar
>language, you are VERY MUCH MISTAKEN indeed.

The phonology of a language and the structural features of writing systems
are not necessarily isomorphic. As it happens, a number of the people who
have worked on the encoding of Myanmar have informed themselves about the
nature of Myanmar phonology.

>>This was with the input of a group of computer professionals
>>from Myanmar with implementation experience.
[Uncalled-for invective deleted]
>I happen to have seen the proposal that the Myanmar delegation
>submitted to the WG2.

This is not, however, the document which came out of the London meeting and
is going for ballot.

>Yes, surely you got INPUT from the Myanmar
>experts. Your communications give me very good reasons to believe
>that you are IGNORING that input.

Five experts, all computer professionals from Myanmar with implementation
experience, as Ken stated succinctly, worked with four experts from the UK,
US, and Ireland, in numerous ad-hoc meetings lasting the entire four days
of the WG2 meetings. Consensus was achieved. The responsible committees are

>You also fail to mention that
>this group of professionals was an official delegation, sent by
>and on behalf of, not only the various organisations they stand
>for, but the government of the Union of Myanmar.

Was it necessary to mention this?

>This is THEIR language, not yours, or anybody elses.

The Universal Character Set is an International Standard, sir, and no
character admitted thereto belongs to any one person. The Myanmars have a
right and a duty to help us encode their script. If they came with daft
ideas inconsistent with the principles of encoding the UCS, then we would
have a right and a duty to reject such ideas. As it happens,

>You have no
>right to manipulate their choices just because you are in a
>position to do so, or because you happen not to agree with their
>government politically. Even if your proposal was linguistically
>or otherwise superior, which it is not, you would have no right to
>do so.

You are mistaken on so many accounts that I am simply not going to continue
with this discussion.


Michael Everson, Everson Gunn Teoranta **
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