Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The original script of the #Philippines was not #Latin

At we have portal pages for the languages our community indicates they know. For some languages all we have is Babel information, others are used to provide a starting off place for every localisation and translation we do at translatewiki.

When people are new to us, we welcome them and particularly when their language is not yet supported by the Babel extension, we ask people to localise it as a matter of urgency. At the same time attention is given to that particular portal.

The Ilokano language is one of the bigger languages on the Philippines and when you check its Wikipedia, you will find a reference to the Babayin script. This script known as Tagalog or Tglg by the ISO-15924, was used in the past not only by Ilokana but also by Tagalog. .. obviously.

The problem with this script is that it is not yet fully ratified by Unicode and consequently it is not possible to use it at all in MediaWiki. MediaWiki insists on their being a Unicode compliant font. As the technical aspects of the Unicode specification have not been ratified, creating a font is a speculative affair. Theoretically at least. Some of the gurus at Unicode can develop a font based on the existing specification and amend and append the font when need be when the script definition has some unforeseen changes.

Many of the hundreds of languages supported at can do with a lot more tender loving care. When a script was used for a language, it makes sense to have the orginal transliterations in that script. This proves the authenticity of the transcription effort. A follow up transcription to the modern script makes it readable. However, transcription gets you the original orthography and that is a good thing too.
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