Wednesday December 11, 2019

Assamese want recognition for their script in computer coding

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Guwahati: The rich history of Assam from the times of Brahmi script in Guptan times to the rock inscriptions and copper plates of fourth and fifth centuries has the ability to convince the US-based Unicode Consortium to give it a sperate slot for its script and remove computational intricacies in using it in the digital age.

The Unicode Consortium, that gives languages a set of universal characters for use in computers, identifies Assamese as another form of Bengali script, making its use difficult in the digital world.

The Assam government recently submitted to the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) that it is a historically evolved script with its own set of characters and symbols representing written texts. But the non-inclusion of this in Unicode and ISO standards has triggered problems in using the language in computers.

During the initial days of digital standards for the Indian Languages in the first Indian Script Code for Information Interchange (ISCII) released by BIS in December 1991, a clear mention was made of the Assamese script. The ISCII document released by BIS clearly mentioned that the northern scripts are Devnagari, Punjabi, Gujarati, Oriya, Bengali, and Assamese, while the southern scripts are Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, and Tamil, an official said.

“However, in all subsequent standards like ISO and Unicode, Assamese script has not been included,” said the official, who is on the panel constituted by the Assam government to push its case for a separate slot on the Unicode, but who did not wish to be identified.

Literary bodies, academicians, and researchers in Assam had objected to the Unicode Consortium move and written to the union government. The Assam government was then asked to submit a detailed proposal that would subsequently be referred to the US body.

While literary bodies such as Asom Sahitya Sabha (ASS) had maintained that the Assamese language was being neglected, Satyakam Phukan, a surgeon who has researched the origin of the Assamese script, said it could be due to lack of knowledge of the US-body about the uniqueness of the script.

“The Assamese alphabets were not separately encoded by Unicode. Following their policy of unification, the Assamese script was eclipsed into Bengali. The uniqueness of the Assamese script was perhaps unknown to the mainly American experts of Unicode,” Phukan told IANS.

The Assam government’s proposal to BIS went deeper into the origin of the script to push for a separate slot for the local language.

“The Assamese script is one of the important scripts of Eastern India. Assamese script is originated from the Brahmi script of the Gupta age. Studies of the rock inscriptions and copper plate inscriptions of the 4th, 5th and later centuries, discovered in different parts of Assam, clearly indicate that the Assamese script is the evolutionary resultant of the scripts used in rock and copper plate inscriptions and other objects like coins and clay seals of Nalanda,” the Assam government’s proposal to the BIS said.

“The evolution of this Assamese script can be divided into three different stages: Old Assamese script or the Kamrupi script (4th/5th to 13th century); Medieval Assamese script (13th to early part of 19th century) and Modern script from the early part of the nineteenth century,” the proposal said.

It further said that the Assamese script started to take its modern form in the early part of the 13th century as evident from the Kanai-Barashibowa rock inscriptions in north Guwahati.

The script received its modern form when the missionaries started printed books and magazines in the early 19th century. The first printed book in Assamese was “Dharmapustak”, a translation of the Bible by Atmaram Sarma from Kaliabar in Assam, published in 1813.

“In the digital world, to use a language as the medium of information, we must have all the characters and symbols with proper codes. The Assamese script has got its own set of characters and symbols, and these are required to have assigned codes for proper usage in terms of computational tasks, application development etc. The language, a major Indian language recognized in the eighth schedule of the Constitution of India, has got its own script, the Script, having its own historical evolution,” the proposal mentioned.

The Assamese language, a major Indian language recognized in the eighth schedule of the Constitution of India, has got its own script, the Assamese Script, having its own historical evolution,” the proposal mentioned.

Ranjan Kumar Baruah, a Guwahati-based social entrepreneur, said a separate slot for its script was necessary for promoting the language in the digital age.

“This is necessary at a time when our state government asked all business establishments, government and non-government organizations to use the local language in hoardings and banners and for other official purposes,” Baruah said.(IANS)

Next Story

Internshala Trainings Launches French Language Training To Encourage Indian Students To Learn The Most Popular Foreign Language

Started in 2015, Internshala Trainings is the learning hand of Internshala and offers various trainings created by experts in 19 in-demand skills including ethical hacking, programming with python, internet of things etc

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French
French is one of the most popular foreign languages to learn among today’s generation. While it is a fascinating new skill to learn, adding this language to one’s resume could benefit them both academically and professionally. Pixabay

Internshala Trainings, the trainings arm of Internshala, has launched its first ever language training – French language training. The beginner level training will help the learners to read, write, and converse in French. The major highlight of the training is the ‘in-built speech recognition engine’ which helps the learners practise their pronunciation. In this, the learners would be able to see a French word or phrase, its phonetic, and its audio pronunciation on the screen. After going through these, the learners will be able to record themselves speaking the word/phrase via the microphone and check if their pronunciation is correct or not.

The 6-weeks long training features scenario-based learning where interactions between characters in different day-to-day settings would help learners understand the language in a better manner. The training covers 15 basic topics of French in 4 different modules which include an introduction to French language, learning how to introduce oneself and other people, learning to conduct basic conversations in outdoor settings like while dining or shopping, and learning to make other day-to-day conversations like talking about renting a place, getting a job, or planning an outing in French. 

Additionally, to make learning fun and simpler, the training is packed with engaging quizzes and multiple exercises such as fill in the blanks, arrange in order, MCQs, listening comprehension, reading comprehension, and match the following. 

The training is created by a French language expert, Rachna Sachdev, who has been learning and practising French for over 10 years. She finds the French culture fascinating and emphasises that French is an interesting language to explore and opens up various career opportunities for the Indian students in both India as well as abroad.

On the launch of the French training, the Founder and CEO of Internshala, Sarvesh Agrawal said, “From the past 5 years, we are thriving to skill Indian students for the professional world through Internshala Trainings. All the trainings that we offer are beginner-level trainings to provide students with an opportunity to explore and learn new skills without having any previous knowledge of the subject. So far, our trainings taught most sought-after skills in engineering and management fields, and with the launch of French language training, we are stepping into new waters to bring out exciting trainings which are both fun to learn and add to students’ career journey in newer domains.”

French
Internshala Trainings, the trainings arm of Internshala, has launched its first ever language training – French language training. The beginner level training will help the learners to read, write, and converse in French. Pixabay

He further added, “French is one of the most popular foreign languages to learn among today’s generation. While it is a fascinating new skill to learn, adding this language to one’s resume could benefit them both academically and professionally. It could help students who are aspiring to pursue higher education in French universities and can certainly catalyse the job searching process in France for them irrespective of their career domains.”

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Started in 2015, Internshala Trainings is the learning hand of Internshala and offers various trainings created by experts in 19 in-demand skills including ethical hacking, programming with python, internet of things, data science, digital marketing, financial modelling, creative writing, and so on. The training platform aims to empower students by skilling them as per the industry standards as well as encourage them to explore new horizons through beginner level trainings in popular categories.

For more details or to enrol in the training, visit: http://bit.ly/e-fren