Linked by Eisel Mazard on Thu 14th Jun 2012 22:01 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes The average computer user might think that the number of languages their operating system supports is pretty long. OSX supports 22 languages, and Microsoft claims to support 96, but they're counting different regional dialects multiple times. But there are over 6000 languages, and though many of them are spoken by a dwindling few, there are some languages that are spoken by millions of people that are supported very poorly, if at all, by computer operating systems. The reason for the support being poor is that the people who speak those languages are poor, and are not good "markets." It's only because of the efforts of a few dedicated people that computing support for languages such as Burmese, Sinhalese, Pali, Cambodian, and Lao have been as good as they are, but the trends for the future are not good.
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sorpigal
Member since:
2005-11-02

While this anecdote is funny, it is not a seriously useful suggestion. I recommend that anyone interested in English spelling reform consult his friendly, neighborhood Google and do some research. It's a fascinating topic with many possibilities but no real probabilities.

My personal conclusion is that you can't fix English orthography without making the result practically a different language and, even if you could, you won't get buy-in from enough people to do it by fiat. It must be an extremely slow iterative process prosecuted by a growing pool of interested individuals across a timeframe of generations, by which I mean that if we started today I think a majority of speakers could be using what is effectively a fully reformed system in 200 years, but it will be necessary for most people to remain familiar with current conventions for at least twice as long as that.

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