Writing to Mum in Glagolitic script

Richmond richmondmathewson at gmail.com
Thu May 22 15:00:58 EDT 2014

On 22/05/14 21:00, Alejandro Tejada wrote:
> Richmond Mathewson-2 wrote
>> I am afraid you have a misreading of my input method.
>> My input method involves a huge amount of post-processing after
>> an end-user presses a key on their keyboard: all that code would have
>> to be altered prior to it working properly with LC 7.
> Now I understand. Then, OS input methods are incomplete for
> some very specific languages.
> Thanks for explaining this.
> Al

OS input methods normally go for the lowest common denominator.

For instance, there is no keyboard layout that I am aware of on any 
operating system for
Scots; so one is forced to use an English keyboard layout, at which 
point one cannot find
the letter 'Ȝ' (Hex - 21C) or 'ȝ' (Hex - 21D), which when one wants to 
write 'minȝan' is,
indeed minȝan!

The same goes for dead languages for the very simple fact that 
historically writing systems have

Sanskrit using the Devanagari script was a whole load more complicated 
than Hindi with the same,
and Vedic (which predated Sanskrit) was even more difficult.

Old Church Slavonic using the Cyrillic script used an 
alphabet-cum-abugida with about 47 letters
in 3 forms (Capitals, lower-case and combining) while modern Slavic 
languages that use Cyrillic
writing systems use far less and have stopped using combining characters 
and the 30-odd
diacritical marks.

Unicode is a brave, and very brave, attempt to be as universal as is 
realistically possible. However
'realistically' possible doesn't mean making space for the set of 
characters used by the Mittani
people who lived in what is now Turkey about 4000 years ago, is 
currently understood by 12 professors
and consists of a library of 40 pages.

Now above-and-beyond the Unicode system: which is, after all, from the 
end user's point of view, nothing more than an ASCII system on steroids 
(one character for one magic number), there is
how those symbols are combined.

Many ancient languages were not written in a way we would call LTR or 
RTL, or even, like modern Chinese can be, from top-to-bottom, but in 
ways which can only, frankly, be termed "bl**dy
awkward". There was, also, very little of what we understand by 
standardisation; both in terms
of what we call spelling, and in the way things were written.


Now; if one wants to use Unicode for setting one's menu bar in Modern 
Chinese, Arabic,
Russian and so forth, there is really very little trouble [well, Ha, Ha, 
until one remembers that
most Arabic letters come in 3-4 varaint forms: start-of-word, 
middle-of-word, end-of-word and
standalone]. However, dead languages are "something else".

To expect Livecode to just "DO" dead languages is a completely 
unrealistic expectation. That
is not RunRev's job [right now it seems to be mine]; their job is to 
provide a computer coding
platform, and make it capable of providing interfaces that function in 
modern languages.


The reason why operating systems ONLY provide keyboard layouts for 
living languages is because,
most of the time, all they have to do is map glyphs to the keys on our 
keyboard: they don't have to
contains thousands of twiddly rules for combining those glyphs with 101 
exceptions. The sheer time
and specialist knowledge required to produce a keyboard layout that did, 
say, Sanskrit, authentically
[not forgetting, of course that Unicode does not provide about 90% of 
what is needed to represent
authentic Sanskrit] is not worth the financial return.

If you do not believe that: my Devawriter has taken me about 6 months 
full-time (i.e. 4 years spare
time) to produce (this is of course one doesn't count the time I spent 
teaching myself a working knowledge of the langauge and the mechanics of 
the writing system). So far this effort has brought
me about $350 of which $100 was an extremely kind grant from the Saiva 
Siddhanta Church in Hawaii.


Cripes; that was a long flog.

But: I do know what I'm talking about, and it needs to be said so that 
loads of people don't get
"all cheesed off" when they cannot use Livecode with their favourite 
dead language straight out of the box.


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