Rest of World: Forget emoji, the real Unicode drama is over an endangered Indian script

Rest of World: Forget emoji, the real Unicode drama is over an endangered Indian script. “The effort to digitize the Tulu script is a small slice of a much larger worldwide problem. Like many languages around the world, Tulu might soon disappear: UNESCO identifies it as one of 192 languages from India that are ‘in danger.’ Globally, 40% of the over 7,000 languages spoken by humanity are at risk. In the last century, hundreds have gone extinct, taking with them stories, cultural traditions, ethnic identities, and a bounty of other information from the past. One way to preserve a language is to ensure it’s digitized, so that its speakers can continue expressing themselves as technology evolves.”

Wired: New Emoji Are So Boring—but They Don’t Have to Be

Wired: New Emoji Are So Boring—but They Don’t Have to Be. “When you think of emoji, you don’t think of a laundry list of random objects. You think of iconic, sometimes weird, expressive faces, like the face with tears of joy, the thinking face, the angry devil, the smiling pile of poo, and the see-no-evil monkey, plus classic symbols like the thumbs-up and the heart. But the latest batch includes just three new faces and one new hand shape, compared with 49 new objects, from a roller skate and a rock to a plunger.”

Hyperallergic: Soon You May Be Able to Text with 2,000 Egyptian Hieroglyphs

Hyperallergic: Soon You May Be Able to Text with 2,000 Egyptian Hieroglyphs. “Over 2,000 new Hieroglyphs may soon be available for use on cell phones, computers, and other digital devices. The Unicode Consortium recently released a revised draft of standards for encoding Egyptian Hieroglyphs. If approved, the available Hieroglyphs will provide greater access and global uniformity for Egyptologists, covering a much longer period of Hieroglyphic usage than ever before.”

France24: Language of persecuted Rohingya poised to go digital

France24: Language of persecuted Rohingya poised to go digital. “For decades the Rohingya have been denied recognition in Myanmar but the persecuted minority is close to securing a crucial symbol of their identity — their own unique digital alphabet. The language of the stateless Muslim people has been included in the planned upgrade to the Unicode Standard, the global coding system that turns written script into digital characters and numbers.”

Osage Nation: Osage Nation visits Google headquarters and Unicode Conference

Osage Nation: Osage Nation visits Google headquarters and Unicode Conference. “Osage Language Master Language Teacher Mongrain Lookout met with tech engineers in late October to talk about the revitalization of the Osage language for Osages everywhere. According to Lookout and the Osage Language Department Webmaster Mark Pearson, strides gained by other non-English languages are helping the Osage language move faster towards full mobile access. Just this week, an unreleased version of the first Osage language app became available Apple and Android users. The app features Unicode developed for the Osage language orthography. This first step is huge for language revitalization and the Osage Nation is already working on developing keyboards and predictive text for new speakers who will want more after using the language app. ”

Google Creates Font Supporting 800+ Languages

Google has created a new font that supports more than 800 languages. “Noto solves a big usability issue that most people don’t know exists. If you write in languages like English, Hindi, Mandarin Chinese, or Russian, for example, you rarely see tofu. Such languages are supported by Unicode, the consortium that approves emoji and maintains software internationalization standards, and your devices come with them. But people read and write in hundreds of languages. Unicode only recently approved Tibetan. Ditto Armenian.”