Sunday, July 25, 2010

A request for a Balinese #Wikipedia

A request was made for a Balinese Wikipedia. When such a request is made, all kinds of checks are made. The language is recognised; its code is ban. Nowadays the Latin script is used, there are no native speakers involved and the localisation at has not started yet.

Modern Balinese is mostly written in the Latin script however traditionally it used to be written in the Balinese and the Javanese script. It also used to be written on lontar or processed leaves of the rontal tree.

The example shown consists of astronomical data for the organisation of an agricultural year and was given to the Tropenmuseum by its first director in 1926. As we were not sure of the orientation of the document, we asked Revo Arka Giri in order to know this for sure. We learned from him that the document is in the 'embat-embatan' style of writing. The difference with standard lontar is that the nerve of the leave has not been removed.

As far as I know, there is no Unicode font for the Balinese script. It has however been encoded in Unicode. The script is still used and it will help the digitisation effort of historic documents. Currently they can be scanned and transliterated into the Latin script but it loses its character and probably some of its meaning.
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