Re: 1 in 1000

From: Peter Constable (
Date: Mon Apr 24 2000 - 15:11:34 EDT

>Howsabout: "100% of the people in the world whose native
       language is not modeled by Unicode cannot use computers in
       their native language;

       That statement is definitely false. Unicode is not the only
       game in town, and people who wish to use computers will (and
       do) devise their own solutions. I know of a number of specific
       cases which disprove this statement; Tai Lue, Tai Dam, Tai Nua
       and Kayah Li are but a few.

>100% of those whose language is badly modeled by Unicode
       cannot fully exploit the power of computers (since the
       proliferation of "Unicode-enabled" software will only partially
       benefit them);

       That statement is unclear in more than one way, but even with
       the meaning I think is intended it is pointless and unhelpful
       since it amounts to "people whose language is not adequately
       supported by Unicode can't depend on Unicode to adequately
       support their language." As Unicode is revised to include
       support for such languages that are currently only partially
       supported, software that is Unicode enabled will begin to
       support those languages, and the speakers of those languages
       will be able to exploit the power of computers using Unicode.
       (In very many cases, they already can and do exploit the power
       of computers, though probably not using Unicode.)

>100% of those literary cultures whose medium is badly modeled
       by Unicode will come under intense economic pressure to think
       about their languages in terms of Unicode's model (i.e. to
       become semi-literate in their native languages)."

       Another statement that is simply false. There are, for example,
       written languages in China and in Papua New Guinea for which
       writing systems are only partially or not at all (e.g. Tai Lue)
       currently supported by Unicode, yet for which the respective
       governments are promoting the use of those languages with the
       writing systems in question. To suggest that the fact that
       these are not supported in Unicode today will lead to the
       demise of those languages, or even to the diminution of
       literacy in those languages, is, frankly, a little naive. There
       are certainly a number of social and economic pressures that
       can have negative impacts on oral or written language use. In
       the short term, however, the fact that Unicode doesn't fully
       support a given writing system would not be a significant
       source of such negative pressure. It is more likely that there
       will be, in contrast, positive pressures to see Unicode revised
       to include support for these languages.

       Sorry, Greg, but unless your statements were not intended to be
       taken seriously, and I saw nothing to suggest that was the
       case, then I must simply state that I consider none of these
       statements to have any merit.

       Peter Constable

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