Standardizing Sinhala for IT

Posted on May 30, 2006  /  204 Comments


  1. JC Ahangama
    Great find. I think most of us need this training, specially those who are clinging to the products that they made with half-baked ideas.Dharma,
    Keep wishing for a free freedom — it isn’t there. Stop blaming people and act!
  2. 214 Sri Lanka Donald Gaminitillake
    Thanks JC for the commentAfter the “Chesse” the blog got stagnant was wondering that now everybody got scared that their “Cheese” has been moved are now running in the maze to find more better “Cheese”In another thread Tamil Language has just commenced.
    For Sinhala there is an incomplete set but these guys never did anything for Tamil Language.
    I was the only person publicly voiced equal usage of both languages Sinhala and Tamil using a computer. Both languages do have a problems when using a computer.

    I have the Solution but these people are scared even to give it a try because their “Chesse” will get moved.

    Donald Gamnitillake

  3. 215 Sri Lanka Dharma Gamage
    Keep wishing for a free freedom — it isn’t there. Stop blaming people and act!


    Who wants free lunches? At least I do not. All I said was we have spent so much for this so called standards development and it is gross ridiculous if someone suggests that I still have to pay for using Sinhala in my computer.

    Why should I need to pay twice (once to Sri Lanka government in tax and then to you) for the simple task of using Sinhala in my computer?

    Please enlighten me what actions should I take.

  4. 216 United States JC Ahangama
    Dharma,OK. You want a font that works and free to use? Write to me. I will register you as a tester. Anybody here wants to be a tester may also do the same.My efforts are since 2002. I am not a Government agency that has unlimited resources. I buy software with my humble earnings. When I devote time for my native country and language, I rob from my livelihood. In this project, I am the Business Decision maker, the Business Negotiator (with Microsoft and Unicode), Technical Expert, Language Researcher, Impact and Feasibility Study provider, System Analyst, Native Language user, Alternative System (Sinhala Unicode) Investigator, Consultant, Programmer, Font Designer, Typography Student, Typographer etc. and the Risk taker. It is my sleep I sacrifice. I neglect my family. I neglect my clients. No one pays compensation to me.

    I lived in Lanka for 37 years and perfectly understand the mentality of socialism — expect the government to provide and then blame it for failure.

    You are trapped in the notion that Unicode means Sinhala Unicode page. That is only a concept by Unicode Inc. that furthers the business interests of it’s members and especially the directors. They are not forcing you to accept their idea. They only think that it is a good idea. For me, it is NOT a good idea. The reason is that it isolates Sinhala from the inner circle of Unicode users. Chinese, Arabic and even other Indic languages can afford to use their own Unicode pages because they have large user bases that can provide a useful network of communication — independent internets. Small countries like us should not adopt isolated Code pages. (None of the European nations did. Fraktur and Gaelic are different scripts but are still based on the first two Unicode code pages.) Choosing a code page is OUR choice — individuals as well as the government. Making fonts is our responsibility too. This decision is too grave to be entrusted to a handful of bureaucrats. It’s people’s work. They own and use the language.

    Here is a quote by a pioneering mathematician and linguist that is watching my progress (it was obviously an email message with some spelling/language errors):

    “In the years up to say, 1960, one studying science at a university would also study latin and prehaps greek, because much of the older stuff was written in these languages. Newton wrote as much in Latin as English, and indeed, the notion of papers written in English, or french or german, was unheard of. Still, times have change[d], and because the english, and later americans, took an early lead in technology, much of the rest of the world came to use these languages [English versions].

    India was for a while colonised by the british, and the retention of english there as an official language, is more a case of not trying to put either of a dravidian or h[i]ndu language over the other, and so they created this foreign language as a “lingua franca”.

    It’s the same in europe, too. Much more is written in english, even for germans in germany, than in german. It is more because english has a larger vocabulary, and much of the language stuff has been nutted out. English is the new Latin, in this regard.”

    We cannot isolate the Sinhala natives from the rest of he world because of a script. While preserving Sinhala, they need to know English too. Basing the Sinhala script on roman character set would facilitate learning of English by exposure. We have found that over the past years English is only the domain of the elite. I know it is a language that can be learned by self study and effort. That’s how I learned it when I (along with others in my 8th grade class) was force promoted to an English-only GCE class. Free access to the Internet coupled with Sinhala based on first two Unicode pages is what I think would hold the Sinhala user withing the greater community of the Internet.


  1. Please continue the discussion in the new thread. The current thread has been closed because it was getting too long.