Suzanne McCarthy <suzmccarth at yahoo dot com> wrote:

>> Everyone, especially the computer guys, keeps telling you that
>> script typology has nothing whatsoever to do with input methods.
> Actually the 'computer guys' kept telling me that the unicode layer
> and the editing layer are different. The codepoints and the input
> and display are different. Particularly Marco, on June 3, (thank
> you, and to many others on and off the list) explained that Indic
> input has "a sort of 'syllabic editing' functionally very similar to
> a Chinese input method." So that the abugida model has been used
> for assigning codepoints and the syllabic model for input method.

Exactly. Which means the typology of the script (Tamil in this case, an
abugida) has nothing to do with its input method (syllabic).

> At the time I could not see this display because Office 2000
> (western edition) doesn't have a USP10.ddl file. It wasn't until
> someone finally contacted me off the list and explained these files
> that I 'got it'. Uniscribe mediates between the Unicode layer, the
> assigned codes, and the input and display. Now I can go back and
> reread what the 'computer guys' said and understand it. I just
> sometimes wonder why the 'computer guys' didn't tell me about the
> USP10 on day 2 instead of day 40. I guess because this was supposed
> to be 'behind the scenes' - oh well.

Uniscribe is a display engine. It takes the Unicode code points and the
font and tries to render everything the best it can. It has nothing to
do with keyboard input or other input; that's how you get the code
points INTO the system.

If the computer guys didn't tell you about Uniscribe right away, it's
probably because you were asking questions about what type of script
Tamil is and what sort of input method is appropriate for it (two
separate issues; see above). If you had been talking about display, on
the other hand, someone probably would have mentioned display engines.

> The remaining problem is that I don't know why Cathy Wissink of
> Microsoft was so adamant in saying that Indic languages don't need
> an IME. The IME's are now being developed by Bhashaindia so I guess
> someone was convinced of the necessity. Since input in order of
> visual sequence is not available for Unicode fonts at this time no
> input method has become popularly accepted other than
> transliteration. This was told to me by a 'computer guy'. This is
> really the remaining problem. Can the syllabic IME, version one, now
> distributed be developed into a useful input method or not. What
> would an appropriate input method for Tamil be?

"Visual sequence" in this case means typing character B before character
A, because B appears to the left of A, even though A occurs logically
before B in the spelling of the word.

Transliteration, of course, is about taking text in one writing system
(in this case Tamil) and rendering it in another (in this case Latin).

Do you see how this has nothing at all to do with whether Tamil is an
abugida or an alphabet or a syllabary or logographic or whatever?

-Doug Ewell
Fullerton, California