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Re: FYI: BOF on Internationalized Email Addresses (IEA)

2003-10-27 21:42:23

On Tue, 28 Oct 2003, Abhijit Menon-Sen wrote:
The number of people in India who can read and write only their native
language, but have no usable knowledge of Latin script, is much larger
than the tiny number who are familiar with both. I'm told that this is
true for many native speakers of Chinese and Arabic as well.

I defer to your superior knowledge about India.

I do not believe that this is true for Chinese.  AFAIK, Chinese primary
school kids use Latin script with hanyu-pinyin as a stopgap prior to their
mastery of Han script (which takes many years).

The use of local scripts is much more than just a "preference" for the
numerous localisation efforts in India which focus on making computing
more accessible to poor farmers and people in villages.

A poor farmer or villager in China is more likely to be totally illiterate
than to be literate in Han script but unable to recognize Latin script.

Note that when I say "recognize Latin script", I mean the ability to
determine that "dog" is a three-letter word that has the letters "d", "o",
and "g", each of which the individual recognizes and can name.  This does
not include the ability to recognize that this refers to a domesticated

(I agree that it's currently nearly impossible to use computers if one
isn't familiar with the Latin script, of course.)

Which probably makes the rest of this discussion academic, unless we're
going to undertake solving *that* problem for Microsoft and the various
UNIX/Linux vendors...

-- Mark --
Science does not emerge from voting, party politics, or public debate.
Si vis pacem, para bellum.