Re: discontent about Indic scripts and Unicode

From: Ram Viswanadha (
Date: Thu Sep 20 2001 - 15:29:41 EDT

"Carl W. Brown" wrote:

> It looks like ISCII and Unicode are addressing two different multi-lingual
> issues. Unicode deals with problems like Chinese where you have the same
> writing for different spoken languages.

I dont think so.
ISCII deals with languages that share a "similar" writing system.

> When it come to using the same
> language or similar language that use different scripts that answer is
> transliteration which is an implementation process that is independent of
> the Unicode encoding.

Indic languages are in general mutually incomphensible making them distinct, the

writing systems are distinct but have similar structure since they originate
from Brahmi script.
IMHO transliteration maybe one of the goals but more importantly the goal of
ISCII was to design
a unified encoding system for Indic Scripts that have a similar structure. That
is the reason why
Perso-Arabic scripts were excluded and a different standard was envisaged.

> The ISCII is an attempt to provide cheap transliteration by using the same
> encoding and just changing the font. You can not do that with Unicode.
> However, I suspect that the transliteration approach will produce better
> results if properly implemented.

Not quite. There are characters in Southern Indic scripts that should be treated
in Northern Indic scripts and vice versa. ISCII is not clear on this, but ICU
converter treats them as illegal.
The only superset of all Indic scripts in ISCII is Devanagari ( with addition of
characters for Southern scripts, Urdu, English,etc. ). So transliteration
between Gurmukhi (Punjabi) and Telugu will fail if based only on byte values and
these exceptions not are considered.

> However, I do not understand the TSCII for Tamil. Unicode provides the
> script separation that they want.

TSCII is whole different story. I agree with Michka, I too disagree with them.
One amusing comment on TSCII list regarding conversion between Unicode and TSCII
"For all practical puposes convserion between TSCII and Unicode is equivalent to
conversion between ISO-8859-1 and Unicode".



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