GUWAHATI, July 8 - Perhaps the exact words of the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) Working Group (WG) 2 meeting�s resolution on encoding the Assamese script in computer coding is the most relevant one at this moment in providing a clear picture on what happened at the latest five-day London University meeting of the ISO WG2 held between June 18 and 22 last.
The ISO WG2 in its said meeting recommended that the Sub-Committee (SC)-2 should accept the ad-hoc report on Assamese script in document N4999 which recommended mainly adding Assamese character names in the names� list as annotations, change the block header from Bengali to Bengali-Assamese and prepare a revised contribution on new characters to be added to it.
It further said the WG2 encourages the experts on Assamese script to continue the work towards a revised contribution and submit to WG2. The WG2 recommends that SC2 invites Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS) to coordinate this effort.
The above recommendations of the ISO WG2 came after consideration of the proposal in document N4947 to encode the Assamese script, said theWG2 in its recommendation M67.25 (on the Assamese script).
The ISO WG2 document N4999, drafted by Unicode Consortium�s Michael Everson, said the discussion of the representation of the alphabet used to write Assamese was held at the meeting and the discussion was summarised by recognising the fact that Assamese language and Bengali language pronounce many of the shared letters differently. It was also noted that the script used for other languages, such as Bishnupriya Manipuri, Manipuri, Sylheti, Hajong, Rabha and Deuri.
It was recognised that the UCS character names are immutable identifiers and cannot be changed, said the participants in the meeting, recommending that Assamese character names be added to the names� list as annotations following the pattern � 0987 Bengali letter I = Assamese letter hraswa I; 0988 Bengali letter II = Assamese letter dirgha I.
It may be possible to change the block header name, though the block property values cannot. The most neutral and least disruptive name would be �Bengali-Assamese.� This is an editorial, not a normative matter.
A preliminary examination was made of the characters in the proposal which were not encoded. The Bureau of Indian Standards has offered to help coordinate this study, the document said.
It further said several recommendations for character additions KHYA, HRASWA U (2nd form), DIRGHA U (2nd form), RI (2nd form), YA KAAR, REF and RA KAAR appear to be normal font presentation forms. KA-KAAR/NA-KAAR may or may not be, and requires further study. Moreover, comparison of URDHA BINDU and NIMNA BINDU with the existing Bengali abbreviation sign needs to be done.
The shape of ISHAAR (svargiya) may be different in Assamese (Swargadeo). There is an Assamese �om� which differs from Devanagari �om.� The historical AVAGRAHA may differ in use and shape for Assamese (LUPTA A KAAR). There are at least 11 characters used to represent land areas and fractions of land areas.
Additional independent vowels and vowel signs may be required, it said, among others, citing the example of the Assamese word kola, which has two different types � one means �deaf� and the other �black�.