www. O S N E W S .com
News Features Interviews
BlogContact Editorials

The death of the Urdu script
By Thom Holwerda on 2014-06-25 15:37:17

Way back in 2009, I wrote about a few specific cases in which computers led to (subtle) changes in the Dutch language. While the changes highlighted in that article were subtle and not particularly substantial, there are cases around the world where computing threatens much more than a few subtle, barely noticeable features of a language.

This article is a bit too politicised for my taste, but if you set that aside and focus on its linguistic and technological aspects, it's quite, quite fascinating.

Urdu is traditionally written in a Perso-Arabic script called nastaliq, a flowy and ornate and hanging script. But when rendered on the web and on smartphones and the entire gamut of digital devices at our disposal, Urdu is getting depicted in naskh, an angular and rather stodgy script that comes from Arabic. And those that don’t like it can go write in Western letters.

It'd be fantastic if Microsoft, Google, and Apple could include proper support for nastaliq into their products. It's one thing to see Dutch embrace a new method of displaying direct quotes under the influences of computers, but to see an entire form of script threatened is another.

36  Comments - Printer friendly - Related stories
Recent related stories
- WordStar: a writer's word processor - 2017-03-16
- The secrets of medieval fonts - 2016-04-29
- The percent sign - 2015-03-18
- LibreOffice 4.4 released - 2015-01-30
- Goodbye, Lotus 1-2-3 - 2013-05-21
- More related articles
 

Tell a friend
Your full name:
Your email address:
Your friend's email:
Anti-spam measure:
5+2=

News Features Interviews
BlogContact Editorials


WAP site - RSS feed
© OSNews LLC 1997-2007. All Rights Reserved.
The readers' comments are owned and a responsibility of whoever posted them.
Prefer the desktop version of OSNews?