--- In qalam@yahoogroups.com, "Peter T. Daniels" <grammatim@...>
> I wonder how much of your work is the work that turns out to be the
> subject of intense complaint and criticism from those who try to
>use it.

I want to clear the air and say that *my* intense complaint about
Tamil had to do only with several associated factors in the transition
from former encodings to Unicode. I would welcome any additional
comments from the list.

First, Tamil had its own encodings, many, as did other Indic fonts.
When Tamil was incorportated into Unicode the India Standard encoding
for Tamil was used. This was not necessarily how some Tamil might have
wanted it; but there was not, and is not yet, a consensus on any other
style of encoding. This was not a Unicode decision.

Second, there has been a transition time in which software and
keyboards had to be developed. These are now available and Tamil can
be keyed in phonetic or visual order or from transliteration.
Transliteration is very popular. Richard W's syllabic editor has
proved that it can also be input by syllable, or glyph, as I would
call it.

Yes, I was upset last year when someone recommended the India Standard
keyboard as the 'ordinary Tamil keyboard'. It wasn't a great
recommendation but that is history.

Tamil is very popular on the web in blogs and webpages so I would say
that software and input problems have been resolved. I see Tamil as a
definite success on the internet.

However, there is still a small group of Tamil who would like to see
Tamil encoded as an alphabet, with no characters which represent
syllables. That is, they would like to see the consonant plus puLLi
encoded as a pure consonant, and then the short a vowel would be keyed
in following the consonant and effectively remove the puLLI. They
insist that Tamil is an alphasyllabary, not an abugida.

There is another group, which I haven't seen to be as active, which
would have liked all the syllables encoded. Sone possibly want both
letters and syllables like Korean. However, I fully understand that
there is no actual plan to reencode Tamil. (There do seem to be many
further details to work out aside from this.)

As far as I can see the disagreement about whether Tamil is an
alphasyllabary or an abugida has not been resolved. However, I am not
aware of how this affects the implementation of Tamil, if at all.

The Tamil come out strongly for the term alphasyllabary, (I have
received personal email from some developers which confirms this).
Steever's article in WWS also calls Tamil an alphasyllabary so I do
not see any disagreement there.

One note of interest is that I did check Steever's earlier published
articles, (see George Campbell, Handbook of Scripts and Alphabets) on
Tamil and found that he represented the Tamil writing system with a
syllabary chart with the consonant plus puLLi down the left hand side
as the basic consonant character. However, in WWS he provides a
completely different organization of the Tamil writing system, more
like other Indic scripts, with the consonant plus inherent a as the
basic character.

The Tamil themselves argue that from the time of the Tolkapiyyam, 2000
years (?) ago, the consonant plus puLLI has been considered the 'pure
consonant' and the base form of the consonant.

All this seems like an argument over labels, but I support the Tamil
being able to chose what their system is called and wish to respect
their designation of their own system.

However, I don't want to reopen the argument and can only say that to
me, there is more than one way of looking at a writing system, more
than one perspective.

I apologize if I have in the past criticized anyone in the list for
any of this. It seems like an issue of historic interest now and not
important, except that various points of view be respected.