Arguments for Inputting by a Malayalam Keyboard layout Edit
We should not tie the ability in typing our own language to knowing any other languages. IMEs require you to know English, when in fact, you can do away with typing Manglish altogether.
Close to 50% of villagers won’t correctly spell (they may not even tell A to Z in that order), say, “Thiruvananthapuram”. They all happily jump into a bus with its board written in English if they want to go to Thiruvananthapuram.
Learning Malayalam typewriting is way easier than one might think. Also, there is speed improvements because, for every letter you type only one key. In transliteration based schemes you would press more than one key for one letter. eg: 'thha = ഥ'.
The only way to make everyone of the Malayalees use computer is to have computers display Malayalam and have the ability for them to input in Malayalam. It won’t be far long before we start to see Malayalam keyboards. Again, the tech-community that is active now already know typing in English and that’s more natural to them. (santhosh)
Arguments for Inputting by Transliteration Edit
Kerala is not Japan or Germany. English has gone into the very psych of a malayalee. Go to any village and look at the shop names or bus names. How are they written ? Only in Malayalam? How do an school educated guy(not a techie) sign his name ? In short, Malayalam can coexist in Kerala with English without any serious problem.
One can agree that Malayalam typing is not an impossible task. However, in typing institutes, Malayalam typing was always considered a more difficult topic and reserved for those passed English higher.
Now come the real issue of convenience. For a foreseeable future the internet will be in English (size comparable to the respective wikipedia sizes). So people will need an English keyboard for sure. Will people stick Malayalam letters to the keyboards when they have an option not to? They will definitely need to learn English typing (even if with 2 fingers). Will they put more energy to learn Malayalam key locations when they have an option not to? (cibu)
90-കളില് മലയാളം ടൈപ്റൈറ്ററുകള് വന്നിട്ടും കാര്യമായ് ഗുണമൊന്നും അതിനും ചെയ്യാന് കഴിഞ്ഞില്ലല്ലോ. (ഇത്തിരി ദോഷമല്ലാതെ.) ജനപ്രീതി നേടിയെടുക്കാന് അവയ്ക്ക് ഇന്നും കഴിഞ്ഞിട്ടില്ല എന്നുമോര്ക്കണം. എന്.ഐ.സി. കളില് ജിസ്റ്റ് ടെര്മിനലിന്റെ കീബോര്ഡിനു മേലെ, മലയാളം ലിപിയുടെ സ്റ്റിക്കറുകളൊട്ടിച്ചവ വര്ഷങ്ങള്ക്ക് മുമ്പ് ഉണ്ടായിരുന്നു. എന്നിട്ടെന്തായി? (evuraan)
Relevance of transliteration (devaragam) Edit
Almost anybody can use English keyboard – some Pakistanis who are near illiterates using Qwerty Board to IM in Urdu to their people. Most of users today have no typing training over any keyboard. Most of 21st century PC users are technological tenderfoots in the same way as all mobile phone users are not e-wap engineers.
People usually compose in Malayalam from office - they wouldn't let modify anything for preventing our mother tongue from becoming phonetic spotted owl. They are paid for a different mission!
A transliteration programs like Keyman can be installed in a matter of minutes in any café, or at friends place.
Extra leeway Edit
There are many (mostly second generation expatriates) who compose malayalam posts using mozhi scheme but cannot write Malayalam. Bloggers valluvanadan, sagaram sakshi and possibility mosilager are virtual Malayalam authors who cannot write Malayalam!!
Even people who knows and can use Malayalam keyboard use transliteration software.
Malayalam & computers Edit
Well we all have an enthrallment towards literature, but facing the reality, any language is used for the following purposes:
- Information storage and dissemination
- Emotional interchange
- Task accomplishment
- Literary contribution & others
Obviously, literature, along with songs and movies and jokes and epics and sagas et al, comes as a part of the utilities classified under above advantages and unless it forms part of an integrated rehabilitation package, drives to buttress literature will not have a long term shielding impact.
Apparently, so long as Malayalam can meet malayali's lingual needs (ibidem) it flourishes and the moment it fails to meet these will be the start of its end. Apparently, degeneration process has started in Malayalam which, though we conveniently blame on TV Anchors and Convent Schools, is in reality partly due to lack of efforts to keep our language's role in all the dynamic purposes above contemporary.
In an attempt to analyze scope of computers in each of the above:
Information storage and dissemination Edit
Authentic and accurate Malayalam books that furnish information, artistic, scientific or commercial or academic are almost non existent barring a few on languages and history. Role of Wikipedia , the global encyclopedic revolutionary in this facet goes without mentioning. Articles in Malayalam published by global information repositories like http://www.fishbase.org has no parallels in book form. Discovering and creating scientific information in Malayalam in cyberspace has become a delightful leisurely activity for many (eg: this great interactive Malayalam site http://www.ehd.org/resources_bpd_illustrated.php?page=1&language=61 of EHD)
Existence accessibility of these sites do have a role in perpetuating relevance and thereby existence of Malayalam.
Considering Malayalam bloggers & Wikipedia authors as a prototypical online Malayalam community, an assessment of the eruditeness should reveal its capability to generate professional information or authentic amateur information on almost every branches of science and technology, various arts and social sciences. This global knowledge pool functions as the back engine for generation and dissemination of the best available information, even compared to the sources that trade it .
Emotional interchange Edit
Bulletin boards, chat rooms, circular emails and blogs play a vital role in emotional interchange. The extent of emotional dependence of people to these often take mind boggling dimensions; while composing a forum article on psychology of cyber-behavior, a renowned female forum writer (whom all malayalavedhi guys in this list know) prayed out "I wish I exist only in internet chat, the sole place where I can be my real self!"
Task accomplishment Edit
In Kerala, dissemination of work instructions in English is/was one of the popular tactics to get notices and followed. It gets into and reminds in the mind of Malayali due to a deep rooted sense of inadequacy in mastery of English. If you talk to any Malayali who had been away from Kerala for 25 years, you will notice this problem of his has solved by itself! Of course there will be some changes that are permanent (after a decade of life outside, many have involuntarily acquired the habit of using different terminology for certain things by habit, but overall skills in Malayalam has only improved)
Accomplishing tasks that deploy computers, we are going into Malayalam OS soon aren't we? That should make personal computer a Malayalai.
200 and odd Malayalam bloggers (multiplying every day in geometric progression) form back bone of cyberspace endeavors on Malayalam literature. These advents often does not fall into watertight compartments. More often than not, blog literature evolves as a blend of fact, fiction and pictures and often forms part of a continuum or addendum of other's works. Interactivity and collective authoring are peculiar to blog literature. Travelogues, essays and relay discussions of Blogs are of secondary place to none and had been adapted by print media often (as happened with Benny's article on Smart City recently)
English and Kerala Edit
Kerala never showed any kind of aversion to any language. It might be because of Kerala's strategical position in the geographical map of merchandise from the pre-historic periods. Malayalam and English co-exist like an entity in Kerala. We use most of the Technical terms as transliterated terms in Malayalam.
Computers and minority languages Edit
Maythil was telling benny, the other day that Computers was a boon for minority languages like Malayalam and it was because of only Computers, minority languages got the privilege to enter in to the future.
Like brain drain of the country, the language drain too starts with creamy layer people. They migrate to English and later would be in a stage from which there would be NO come back. Transliteration scheme try to stop this language erosion.
A case study (benny) Edit
Let me quote a case study too - We have a team of 20 people for Malayalam in by office and we use Shree Lipi Malayalam Font (Modular Infotech's) for portal operations. Initially, we had two DTP people who know typing in Keyboard layout and it was a wonder for the rest of them team to see them typing in Keyboard layout.
As a policy to make people multi-tasking, company decided to give training to each employee, irrespective of positions, on typing Malayalam. It was a very difficult task for people to get familiarize with Modular Infotech's Keyboard Layout.
Then company polished their Epatra (transliteration software) and provided it to the employees. Within one week, everybody started typing Malayalam with ease. Epatra had (has) many issues and later Varamozhi came with a perfect ROMANIZATION concept. Now all Malayalam team members type Malayalam easily, that too with Varamozhi software.
More interestingly, the DTP guys who were using Keyboad layout is now using transliteration scheme.