Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Alphabet? What alphabet?

I used to start a talk on internationalization of code with the question “How many letters are in the alphabet?”  Once I had several people say “26” I would ask “Shouldn’t you ask ‘what alphabet’ first?” I would then discuss some different alphabets and how many more or fewer letters they had. Then briefly mention that not all alphabets look the same. That’s is why ASCII is not good enough.

Today I ran across the following graphic. I wish I’d had it back in the classroom.

Who knew there were so many diffe3rent scripts? I suspect that are many more not on this list of course. Let’s not forget that some them are read left to right and not right to left.

Are you discussing multiple scripts and alphabets with students? It can bring up some interesting questions. And widen ones experience. If you are lucky enough to have students who are familiar with these non-Roman script languages ask them to explain how sorting of words happens. I had Chinese exchange students who were happy to explain how Chinese words are sorted. Short answer is by the strokes that make up the words.

1 comment:

Mike Zamansky said...

I know it's not the same thing at all but for some reason this post makes me think of Knuth's 3:16 project.