[XeTeX] Greek XeLaTeX

Philip Taylor (Webmaster, Ret'd) P.Taylor at Rhul.Ac.Uk
Tue Oct 12 11:25:45 CEST 2010

Apostolos Syropoulos wrote:

> There is something called standarazation that was invented to avoid
> such problems. Almost everywhere we use meters and kilometers and
> we use these names. Imagine what happens to people visiting
> the few countries who insist on using incompatible measures...
> In the ancient times, Greek was the lingua franca nad that is why
> people use terms like mathematics, physics, architecture, etc.
> Imagine someone who rewrites a Java compiler that uses Greek
> keywords. Programs in this language would not compile
> and thus they would be not portable. On the other hand, one
> can use Greek variable names, methods, etc. in his/her program.
> Coming back to the XeLaTeX I have written a book in Greek
> and in which I present many new example commands all of
> them having Greek names. That is IMHO reasonable. "Translating"
> LaTeX is unreasonable.

I fully understand your sentiments, and as you are (I think)
a non-native speaker of English who has made the effort to
learn a language other than your mother tongue, your opinion
is probably more important than mine.  But whilst standardisation
does indeed bring many advantages, it also imposes unnecessary
entry barriers for those who are not native speakers of the
language that the standard imposes.  And I, for one, feel that
those barriers should be removed whenever possible.

In another forum, I have suggested that one way to permit this
is to define an underlying (numeric) canonical representation
(at the time, I was writing of CSS, but the idea is equally valid
for TeX, or indeed for most other computer-related languages).
Documents would then be exchanged in this numeric form, and it
would be the responsibility of a "localiser" for each linguistic
zone to decompose this numeric form into the local language or
dialect, and then to recompose any changes back into the numeric
format for the purposes of document interchange.

There are, of course, potential : one is colour names, where
the cardinality of the colour-name set varies with language.
But just because there are problems does not mean that the idea
/in general/ is not feasible.  I genuinely believe that we should
be moving towards a more inclusive society, in which each can
express his or her ideas in his or her own native language.
Computers are the very tools that make this feasible : is it
not time that we started to exploit them more fully, for the benefit
of all ?

** Phil.

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