suzmccarth wrote:
> Thank you for personalizing this, Marco.

:-) It was my blunder, anyway... I wanted a name with a short "i" because I
thought vowel "i" went of the left of its consonant. But that's devanagari
and other scripts: for Tamil, I should have chosen a name with an "e"...

> > I always thought that sequence 1 should be more natural for
> Tamils. However,
> > it seems that for some native speakers sequence 2 is
> more "logical" on the
> > basis that <I> is not a letter on its own right but just a vowel
> mark, a
> > modifier, which is "attached" to letter <S>.
> I have read many Tamil lists and have read that they have not
> accepted typing in order of phonetic sequence.

That's good news to me (not so for Microsoft, but who cares). Anyway,
whether visual or phonetic sequence is used, that has nothing to do with
Chinese-like IME's.

Tamil has only about 50 basic signs (letters, matras, etc.), so it makes
perfectly sense to assign one letter per key, as it is for English or any
other alphabet-like keyboard.

> I am not going to cut and paste from these lists [...]

And that's not necessary: I am not saying I don't trust you on this point,
just that it is not relevant for how a Tamil keyboard should be laid out.
Visual vs. phonetic input is just a detail: whatever you choose, no IME is

> No, Microsoft was asked explicitly to provide an IME in order to
> enable input of each visually distinct akshara and Microsoft
> refused.

Correctly so, IMHO. It's sound like a silly request and, anyway, Windows
allows keyboard drivers written by third parties, so everyone is allowed to
ship an IME for Tamil or for English.

> But now there is one - just not very good yet. This has
> created a big fuss in India - now some research centres are moving
> to handwriting input and speech inut because they are so
> dissatisfied with trying to input in order of phonetic sequence.

That sounds like moving from a bicycle to a space shuttle because one is
dissatisfied with the height of the saddle. Isn't it easier to fix the
height of the saddle?

> FOR ME, typology and input method ARE related.

I might agree, here.

> The way I think about it, I see Tamil as having syllabic
> characteristcs and then I can look for the syllabic IME.

I definitely disagree, here.

Anyway, if different users see it differently, there is no reason why Tamil
should not have three, four, or even ten different input methods.

But the differences should possibly only be in the *software* part. The
*hardware* (i.e., the labels printed on the keys) should possibly be fixed
once for all.

Imagine the mess if keyboard manufacturers had to ship two or more kinds of
Tamil keyboards, and Indian computer shop had to handle both, and Tamil
users had to choose or (worse) to accept to someone else's choice (e.g.,
their employer's)!

On the other hand, it's not a problem for an operating system to ship with
three or more different Tamil keyboard drivers, e.g., "Visual sequence",
"Phonetic sequence", and even a crazy "Syllabic IME".

_ Marco