Re: Braillists Forum: Pali braille

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Sébastien Hinderer

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Aug 25, 2021, 4:50:57 AMAug 25
to brail...@googlegroups.com, Scott Feldman, Samuel Thibault
Dear all,

First of all, many thanks to Claire for having been sokind and
transferring the message below to me. She did so because I am blind and
trying to be a follower of tibetan buddhism which is based on the
sansckit rather than Pali set of canonical texts.

Also, I am Cc-ing Samuel Thibault because he implemented many braille
tables in brltty, based on a UNESCO report describing the different
known braille alphabets and which can be found here::

http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0013/001352/135251fo.pdf

As Samuel explained to me, this is a scanned document but which
apparently also contains a digital version of the report which should
thus be accessible.

Since Samuel did not subscribe to the forum as I did (he is sighted and
already receives loads of e-mails), please make sure to use "Reply to
all" if you wish to include him into the discussion.

Coming to the topic. Brltty already contains a braille table for
sanscript. This table is based on the devanagari scripture, so its
alphabet looks similar to all the alphabets used for languages similar
to hindi, Samuel explained. Samuel added that, according to Wikipedia,
Pali seems not too far from sanscript indeed, in terms of alphabet.

So Samuel's *strong* recommendation would be to design a table for pali
by starting from the table for devanagari and then adding to it what is
missing, based on what has been done in other hindi-related tables. That
way, the resulting braille would be coherent with the existing ones and
somebody having learned one variant would have an easier transitionn to
another one.

The other relevant tables are bengali, gujarati, gurmukhi, kannada,
malayalam, oriya and telugu. So if a symbol required for Pali is missing
from devanagari but defined in one of those table, then use the same
representation in the Pali table. Only try to find a new representation
if a certain symbol is not represented in any of these tables.

I hope this helps.

Best wishes,

Shérab.

Begin forwarded message:

From: Scott Feldman <scottfel...@gmail.com>
Subject: Braillists Forum: Pali braille
Date: 29 July 2021 at 12:07:14 GMT+1
To: "brail...@googlegroups.com" <brail...@googlegroups.com>
Reply-To: brail...@googlegroups.com

Hello. I am a visually impaired Buddhist practitioner who is interested in making Pali (the language of the Buddhist scriptures) accessible in braille. I am looking for other braille readers who would be interested in joining up to develop a Pali braille code.

For English speakers like myself, Pali is represented in print using the standard Latin alphabet with the addition, for certain letters, of diacritical marks like the macron (a line above the letter) and underdots. We would need to make decisions about how to most efficiently represent these characters using the existing braille code. My intention would be to share the resulting code with the Liblouis community so that it can be incorporated into the broader braille code.

I am by no means an expert in any of this and so would be very happy to Connect with others with relevant expertise and/or interest to come up with something that can be used within our community.
My longer-term goal is to create a website with braille files of Pali texts such as the suttas. I would be happy if anyone wanted to participate in that broader vision as well, although my immediate concern is coming up with a suitable code.

If you are interested, please reach out to me by email at scottfel...@gmail.com. Also please feel free to pass this message along to any other groups or individuals who might find it of interest.
Thank you and be well!




geo...@techno-vision.co.uk

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Aug 25, 2021, 6:28:59 AMAug 25
to brail...@googlegroups.com
Or you could take a look at the Duxbury Braille Translator which already handles much (if not all) of what you require.

George W F Bell
Managing Director
Duxbury UK Master Distributor
Techno-Vision Systems Ltd
76 Bunting Road Ind. Est.
NORTHAMPTON, NN2 6EE
United Kingdom.

Tel: +44 (0)160 479 2777
E-Mail: geo...@techno-vision.co.uk
Web: http://www.techno-vision.co.uk
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Sébastien Hinderer

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Aug 25, 2021, 7:05:09 AMAug 25
to brail...@googlegroups.com, Scott Feldman, Samuel Thibault
Re-post on behalf of Samuel who couldn't reply since he is not a member
of the forum (too bad external messages are banned rather than just moderated):

Samuel Thibault, le mer. 25 août 2021 10:55:26 +0200, a ecrit:
> Sébastien Hinderer, le mer. 25 août 2021 10:50:56 +0200, a ecrit:
> > Also, I am Cc-ing Samuel Thibault because he implemented many braille
> > tables in brltty, based on a UNESCO report describing the different
> > known braille alphabets and which can be found here::
> >
> > http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0013/001352/135251fo.pdf
> >
> I forgot: there is an english version here:
> https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000071103

Ed Rogers

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Aug 25, 2021, 7:12:16 AMAug 25
to brail...@googlegroups.com, Scott Feldman, Samuel Thibault
Hi Scott

I hope Sebastien's email gave you a useful starting point.

Other places that may be useful to seek like-minded people wanting to
work on this with you might include:

- The BRLTTY list: http://brltty.app/mailman/listinfo/brltty

- Modular-Infotech may have a commercial interest in working with you,
as their software, Shree-Lipi Braille, tries to support as many Indian
languages as possible: https://www.modular-infotech.com/html/braille.html

- Sabriye Tenberken from Kanthari, who helped conceive the Tibetan
Braille code (I appreciate that is the wrong starting code to use as a
starting point, but she may have contacts): https://www.kanthari.org/

Ed

On 25/08/2021 09:50, Sébastien Hinderer wrote:
> Dear all,
>
> First of all, many thanks to Claire for having been sokind and
> transferring the message below to me. She did so because I am blind and
> trying to be a follower of tibetan buddhism which is based on the
> sansckit rather than Pali set of canonical texts.
>
> Also, I am Cc-ing Samuel Thibault because he implemented many braille
> tables in brltty, based on a UNESCO report describing the different
> known braille alphabets and which can be found here::
>
> http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0013/001352/135251fo.pdf
>
Please note: My email address is now ed.r...@bristolbraille.org rather
than ed.r...@bristolbraille.co.uk

E Rogers Braillists Foundation

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Aug 25, 2021, 7:19:30 AMAug 25
to brail...@googlegroups.com, Samuel Thibault, Scott Feldman

Sébastien Hinderer

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Aug 25, 2021, 8:32:26 AMAug 25
to 'Ed Rogers' via Braillists, Scott Feldman, Samuel Thibault
Hey Ed,

> - Sabriye Tenberken from Kanthari, who helped conceive the Tibetan
> Braille code (I appreciate that is the wrong starting code to use as a
> starting point, but she may have contacts): https://www.kanthari.org/

Yes, I agree with you on that the braille she designed is probably not
the best starting point. When I looked into it, a few years ago, the
main problem I saw was that it didn't seem compatible with Unicode.
Also, I am not completely sure her braille is really an alphabet in the
strict sense of the word, in the sense that, from what I understood,
sometimes it was mor trying to describe the phonetics than how things
are actually written in the tibetan alphabet itself which, to me, is a
major issue.

Best wishes,

Shérab.

Scott Feldman

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Aug 25, 2021, 8:39:49 AMAug 25
to Sébastien Hinderer, 'Ed Rogers' via Braillists, Samuel Thibault
Thank you - these seem like useful directions to explore.

Metta (with friendliness),
Scott Feldman, PhD



From: Sébastien Hinderer <Sebastien...@ens-lyon.org>
Sent: Wednesday, August 25, 2021 8:32:24 AM
To: 'Ed Rogers' via Braillists <brail...@googlegroups.com>

Cc: Scott Feldman <scottfel...@gmail.com>; Samuel Thibault <Samuel....@ens-lyon.org>
Subject: Re: Braillists Forum: Pali braille

Scott Feldman

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Aug 25, 2021, 8:49:32 AMAug 25
to Sébastien Hinderer, brail...@googlegroups.com, Samuel Thibault
Thank you, Sherab, for your very thoughtful comments. The feedback I have received so far is split as concerns whether to base a Latin Pali code on English braille or on Indic braille. In any case, it is clear that one or the other would be the appropriate starting point.

Metta (with friendliness),
Scott Feldman, PhD



From: Sébastien Hinderer <Sebastien...@ens-lyon.org>
Sent: Wednesday, August 25, 2021 7:05:05 AM
To: brail...@googlegroups.com <brail...@googlegroups.com>

Cc: Scott Feldman <scottfel...@gmail.com>; Samuel Thibault <Samuel....@ens-lyon.org>
Subject: Re: Braillists Forum: Pali braille

Sébastien Hinderer

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Aug 25, 2021, 8:58:35 AMAug 25
to Scott Feldman, brail...@googlegroups.com, Samuel Thibault
I'd definitely start from indic braille. Of course it would make it
harder to learn for westernerners, but I thing doing things the other
way around would be too western-centric. We need to make that useful
mostly for people who laready need to learn other similar braille
alphabets, in my opinion. And after all, even for westerners, after they
have leraned one, the others should become easier, too.

Best wishes,

Shérab.
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