[Fsf-friends] Indic language bugs in Unicode

Sankarshan Mukhopadhyay sankarshan.mukhopadhyay@[EMAIL-PROTECTED]
Tue Nov 21 09:54:48 IST 2006

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I apologise for the top-posting, but would you like to go through the
discussions at indic at unicode.org mailing list ? There seems to be a lot
of dialogue going on in this issue (which is normal and should be) but
no clear solution being provided.


Ramanraj K wrote:
> Recently, I started using UTF-8 enabled applications to read and write
> in Tamil, the local official language here. It appears indic languages
> have been incorrectly represented at Unicode. India had sent less than
> 128 chars each language to Unicode consortium in the 1990s, much less
> than the full complement of characters in each. For example, among Tamil
> characters, only 31 chars (12 vowels and 18 consonants + 1 Final (ஃ)
> have specific codes, and the chart misses almost 12 x 18 characters
> which now have to be encoded with three to nine bytes per character. To
> make things worse, their arrangement is not in any natural order, and so
> sorting is difficult. It appears it is difficult to amend the charts
> now, as a number of applications have started using the unicode coding
> charts. Almost all indic languages have the same problem.
> Some would like to now have a 16 bit encoded Tamil-New chart, with codes
> allocated for 250+ characters in the Private Use area. I am not sure if
> other indic language groups are aware of the issues here, and what their
> plans are to deal with it.
> Padmakumar pointed out the issues there to the fsf-friends mailing list
> in 2004:
> http://mm.gnu.org.in/pipermail/fsf-friends/2004-December/002653.html
> along with the link to the article at :
> http://www.angelfire.com/empire/thamizh/2/
> (sad that there was no response to it)
> A recent TVU conference doc on the issues there is available at:
> http://tamilvu.org/coresite/html/cwwhatnw.htm
> There are a number of things that need to be done:
> [1] Add any missing characters and re-arrange the Tamil Unicode
> characters within the range of the existing 128 so that sorting could be
> done
> [2] Examine the TVU doc and offer suggestions to those concerned
> regarding Tamil 16 bit encoding.
> [3] Almost all indic languages are in the same boat here, and therefore,
> the language groups ought to come up with workable plans to remove the
> problems.
> -Ramanraj K
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