White Paper 2: Responses to Oriya Script Root Zone Label Generation Ruleset (LGR) proposal 2018

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Compiled by Subhashish Panigrahi and Prateek Pattanaik for O Foundation (OFDN)

All the comments except the one from Dr. Nasim Ali are compiled from interviews conducted during November 12-22, 2018. Individual comments can be attributed to the experts and the whole document is released as a compilation by O Foundation under a CC-BY-SA 4.0 International license (read more at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/).

Read the white paper that was published on 8 October 2018.

Overall observations:

  • The addition of some of the newly introduced characters like କ଼, ଖ଼, ଗ଼, ଘ଼, ଜ଼ along with obsolete characters like ଵ seemed to be done hastily with no/very low consensus by the community but unanimously by a few individuals in the panel.
  • The caliber of the so called experts who evaluated and compiled the proposal is extremely questable. Apart from several half-baked instances including merely copy-pasting Wikipedia content, there is a blunder of writing ‘fishing’ instead of ‘phishing’. The overall work shows lack of subject knowledge expertise. This is a red flag for ICANN to not engage with non-experts on such important exercises.
  • Any change to the standard Odia script or language is highly contentious — no matter what the specific purpose is. Taking a lesson from the 2014 Odisha High Court stay on a revised version of Odia primer Barnabodha, it is advisable to not proceed with the aforementioned characters without a wider community consensus.
  • Odia has a 1000-year old tradition of changing the spellings and pronunciations of loan words. There are hundreds of loan words that have been adopted from languages like Portuguese, Persian, Arabic, English and several Asian languages. Any forced usage without a consensus is highly disruptive to the harmony and organic nature of the language. The proposed changes in the document are forced and not based on consensus.
  • When the panel for Odia have responded to one individual’s (Subhashish Panigrahi’s) comments, they have failed to even acknowledge the responses from the others where the latter are far more extensive both in terms of substance and perspectives. In a multi-stakeholder model discourse, it is questionable why the panel chose to ignore a wide range of questions subjected to them.
  • When the responses from the Odia LGR proposal compiler(s) is defensive as seen below, it is not clear how they reached the consensus on some of the debatable and controversial points that they have submitted in the proposal.
  • The Internet is a manifestation of a society. Similarly, the multilingual Internet is a manifestation of the languages spoken by people. It is important that the LGR document should not be read in isolation, but as a major tool that impacts both the language and the multilingual Internet.
  • It is important for the panel to accept the failure of not being able to even touch the major stakeholders (i.e. government, industry, academia and end users) for consensus. ICANN, which is known for promoting a multi-stakeholder model, can be potentially accused of imposing a top-down model on a language community by simply accepting the proposal.

Expert opinions

Prof. Dr. Sanghamitra Mohanty

(play recorded interview at here)

Dr. Mohanty is one of the most noted researchers in the whole of Odisha for her significant contribution towards early Odia computing. From being involved with Unicode Consortium for years to her work for C-DAC, TDIL and Utkal University, Dr. Mohanty’s contribution has resulted in several standardization processes  for Odia for computing and the Internet.

 

“My question to those who are trying to insert these new characters — how many new characters they can insert to accommodate 6,500 languages of the world? Will I learn Persian-Odia, Japanese-Odia. With only 26 characters in English, it has become one of the most influential languages in the whole world.

 

Odia is my language. I will only learn only those characters that are required to learn Odia.

 

There is a significant difference between the Perso-Arabic phonology and that of Odia. [In the context of introduction of these new characters/forms] my simple question is we can introduce new characters for Persian and Arabic. Tomorrow, there will be a need for Chinese and Japanese. There isn’t a (character for) ‘la’ in Japanese. Odia characters are made to express fully the Odia language, not for the rest of the languages of the world. We can now add a few characters. But how many we can add to accommodate the 6,500 languages spoken in the world?

 

English, American and Europeans will pronounce the names like Cuttack and Puri differently. Even the Italians and the Dutch would pronounce very differently. Scandinavian speakers would pronounce very differently as well. Should we add all those sounds?

 

We have lost many standard characters and have lost in the past. I have even criticized ‘ୱ’ (0B71) as a ‘phala’ is never combined with a vowel. But it became widely accepted and was included into Unicode chart.

Now, with insertion of these new characters [କ଼, ଖ଼, ଗ଼, ଘ଼, ଜ଼, ଵ] and more in the future, are we expecting students to learn Persian-Odia, Arabic-Odia, Chinese-Odia and so on? Why kids should be forced to learn these when they are already struggling with learning the standard Odia?

 

We do not have the pronunciation of ‘Petakila ba’ [‘ଵ’, literally meaning a prick in the belly of “ba”] in our language in the first place. It has its use in Sanskrit and so, had its use in writing in Odia long back. But even though it was part of the alphabet, people could never pronounce the way Sanskrit is pronounced. They pronounced just the way they would pronounce Odia with a distinct accent. But over the time, ‘ୱ’ has replaced ‘ଵ’. The newer generation cannot even recognize it. ‘ଵ’ has been reduced to be used only as “phala”. I still oppose ‘ୱ’ but other linguists should have a consensus on this.

 

[Giving an example] We do not pronounce as ‘prabhava’ at all. We have a very strong accented ‘prabhaba’ which is distinct. There is no ambiguity there. [As a linguist] I can confirm this based on speech analysis.

In Odia, the vowels are pronounced fully and clearly.

 

ଡ, ଡ଼, ଢ, ଢ଼ exist in Odia and it is important to consider they are unique grammatically and scientifically.

 

We also need to consult the government while introducing such new characters/combinations.

 

I strongly oppose introduction of any such new character at this point of time.”

Dr. Nasim Ali (Urdu, Odia)

Dr. Ali, being a native speaker of Urdu, has significant contribution towards Odia and Santali languages. He has led the development of several Odia typeface projects and has created input tools for both Odia and Santali.

 

“Urdu has five different characters for z/j viz: ج ض ز ظ  ذ , granted two of them are redundant yet each must be represented for proper representation of Urdu vocabulary in Odia scripts. Odia has two j letters ଜ and ଯ. Adding a nukta to each would still leave us short a letter. Should we go about adding more diacritic marks for properly writing Urdu in Odia script?

 

Even in Devanagari where there is actually centuries old tradition of writing Urdu there are many non-compatible standards for representing sounds that are non-native to Devanagari. There are hardly any publications that even attempt to use such special notations in Odia. There have been a few books and two odd magazines that used Odia script to write Urdu but they have been for laymen and have scant used such notations for the non-native sounds. Those unaware of Urdu don’t correctly pronounce these sounds and those who know Urdu alphabet simply stick to that. I cannot vouch for Assamese but in Bengal there is actual tradition of using Bengali for writing Urdu including published books and manuals. This tradition is simply barely existent in Odia.

 

In any case defining such special letters should come under the purview of a standardization institution (there is no defined regulatory body for Odia hence it should be under the govt. of Odisha). That will also invite much greater feedback and collaboration from linguistic authorities and natives than this forum will allow. This appears to be an attempt to first gaining legitimacy by an international authority for a revisionist agenda and then leverage it for a push at the state level whereas it should be the other way around. It is best for ICANN not to be embroiled in this political tussle until these characters are actually standardized by the proper authority.

 

As for the allegation that this might lead to phishing (and not fishing), this convention is already allowed in IDN. For example “bücher.de” (ü=uni0075+uni0308) and “bücher.de” (ü=uni00FC) are both valid (and redirect to the same site fortunately). Mr. Sharif can use ଶ଼ରିଫସାହିତ୍ୟ domain currently and also book the new domain once a new letter ଶ with nukta is added by Unicode consortium.”

Dr. Praphulla Tripathy

Dr. Tripathy, Odia linguist and author. He has also worked closely with C-DAC, TDIL, Indian Statistical Institute for building. On the context of inclusion of କ଼, ଖ଼, ଗ଼, ଘ଼, ଜ଼, ଵ to Odia Internationalized Domain Names (IDN), Dr. Tripathy told—

 

“I won’t use these newly introduced [characters]. We have to serve our script for our language. It is not possible to change our script for use of other languages. We cannot accommodate [pronunciations of] 6,500 languages in our script. This is like forcing a cowherd to adopt a giraffe. Will the cowherd send his cattle to the giraffe’s owner?

 

I have read the [initial] report that OFDN has published and I fully support it.

 

Our language has been influenced by the languages of our colonizers viz. Persian and English. Many learned English to get jobs like clerks under British officers. This system is coming down slowly but there is still this [influx of dominant languages].

 

[The English speakers] would not add different characters for our “ଣ”, “ଳ”. Why should we do something like that? We say “pi-pul” for “people” which they won’t understand but our people do. That is how languages work. One does not have to fit in.

 

If I am forced to read the inclusion of these new characters, I will be forced to do so rather than complaining because I don’t have the bandwidth to do that.

Dr. Asit Mohanty

Dr. Mohanty is a known historian, researcher, author and translator who is currently heading a nonprofit Aama Odisha that focuses on the research, publication and promotion related to Odia language and culture, and is serving as an editor of the Paurusha magazine published by the Sambad group/Eastern Media Ltd (EML). EML publishes the largest circulated Odia-language newspaper the Sambad.

 

“We never faced any issues so far in the long thousand-year-old history of the Odia language. Both Odia language and script are largely standardized. It is a stupidity to change the alphabet that is in use for over 1,000 years. Changing something so forcefully would simply be discarded by the general public. For instance, Sambad, which has a readership over 200,000 every day introduced an academically-accepted way of using “anuswara” instead of conjuncts (juktakhyara). After years of use, it was discarded by the readers and the paper has to go back to a more widely accepted way of writing using the conjuncts. New/less-known features cannot be imposed by the larger user base of a language.

 

Furthermore, there has to be wider discussion on such issues. We were not informed about this proposal being the largest mediahouse of the state. Many of the major stakeholders like myself wouldn’t have known about [Odia LGR].”

Gobardhan Panda (Bonda, Gutob, Olar, Durua, Kui and Desia)

(play recorded interview here)

Gobardhan Panda is an indigenous language and culture researcher. Has worked extensively in Remo sam (Bonda), Durua pata (Durua), Olar pate (Olar), Gutob, and partially in 7 other indigenous languages, and Desia (Desiya) which is a link language between Odia speakers and indigenous language speakers. According to Mr. Panda, out of the 20 distinct indigenous languages spoken in Odisha, 12 are spoken in the undivided Koraput district. He has used the Odia script in over five books which are in the aforementioned languages. His book on Kui language is published as a text book by the Odisha government.

 

“I have lived for 12 years in the Bonda village and it is like a native language for me. I did not just research extensively in the language, but have interacted with the Bonda speakers like a native speaker.

 

The Odia alphabet is enough for writing the indigenous languages of Odisha though there is some challenge. While transliterating, It is important that one listens very carefully and use the appropriate Odia character. At times, phonetic English (Romanization) is even better.

 

The indigenous people cannot pronounce the airy sounds like “ଖ”, “ଘ”, “ଥ”, “ଧ”, “ଫ”, “ଭ”, etc. (also known as ‘mahaprana’) but they do pronounce ବ distinctly and do not have a need for ଵ (0B35).”

C. H. Santakar (Telugu and Odia)

(play recorded interview at https://drive.google.com/file/d/1eCZA500AxpsMrmVmw1tSHX6ZRfQmZzjc/view?usp=sharing)

 

Mr. Santakar is an eminent journalist and philanthropist based in Koraput, Odisha who has worked widely in the region for citizen journalism training to school children. He also engages with grassroots communities esp. indigenous communities of Koraput and Malkangiri district.

 

“I have been privileged to have Telugu as a native language and Odia as a language of my birthplace, and learn about these two languages.

 

‘ବ’ (0B2C) and ‘ଵ’ (0B35) are both pronounced as ‘ବ’ (0B2C) – ‘ba’ here whereas the equivalent of ‘ଵ’ (0B35) in Telugu is pronounced as ‘va’. For instance, when it is pronounced as in Telugu, it is pronounced as ‘vishakhapatnam’ (IPA: /vɪshaːkhaːpəTTənəm/) and ‘bisakhapatana’ (IPA: /bisaːkʰaːpaːʈɔɳaː/) in Odia.

 

None pronounces the ‘ଵ’ (0B35) as ‘va’ in Southern Odisha and it is generally pronounced either as ‘ba’ or ‘bha’ depending on where it is used.

Ramjit Tudu (Santali)

(play recorded interview at https://drive.google.com/file/d/1iVI9i9aZUn8obVMV9D6JoBSmh4JvKlBa/view?usp=sharing)

 

Mr. Tudu is an active Santali-language Wikipedian and the founding member of the Ol Chiki Tech, a collective working towards building digital tools for the Santali users using Ol chiki alphabet. He himself has played a vital role for Ol chiki input tools and reviving the Santali Wikipedia where the latter became a live Wikipedia earlier this year as the first indigenous language Wikipedia in India.

 

“There are five major issues in writing Santali in Odia script as Odia does not have exact characters to write some of the glottal forms. But the others are good enough for writing Santali. We did not initially have a ‘wa’ sounding character for now we use it for loan words. I don’t think we need ‘ଵ’

as ‘ବ’ (0B2C) and ‘ୱ’ (0B71) are good enough. Santali has been written in Odia for significant time until Ol chiki came to existence. But it is difficult for a common speaker to read Santali in Odia. The meaning of a word might mean different at times when written in Odia alphabet. Santali using Ol chiki is taught only in two universities in Odisha — North Odisha University Baripada and Sambalpur University. It is not yet widely taught to kids in schools.

 

In the past, when Odia script was used for writing Santali ‘bisarga’ (visarga) and ‘halant’ were used to represent many glottal and half-forms respectively. It is certainly difficult for the newer generation to read ”

Mangal Singku (Ho)

(play recorded interview at https://drive.google.com/file/d/1YFRA0FIi2YFPw5GNH_nKaxWNGDbPU0NN/view?usp=sharing)

 

Mr. Singhku is working on building digital tools for the Ho language where the latter is spoken by about 1.4 million native speakers spread across six Indian states including Odisha and is written by the Warang Citi alphabet. Historical use exist in Bengali, Devanagari, Latin and Odia alphabet.

 

“There is certainly issues with writing Ho while writing in Odia script. Similar problem exists while writing in Bengali, Devanagari and Latin script, maybe a bit less. Because we have a lot of half-forms, we use the halant and bisarga quite a lot while writing in Odia script. But it is still hard to spell Ho words very well in Ho. There is historical text in Odia and it being made for a different language.

 

I cannot confirm about the newly introduced characters as I don’t know yet how they are pronounced. But apart from Warang Citi, Odia or any other script would be insufficient to write Ho. We don’t have any need for these sounds [like କ଼, ଖ଼, ଗ଼, ଘ଼, ଜ଼ and ଵ].

Prateek Pattanaik

OFDN

Mr. Pattanaik is a researcher on Odia language, literature and culture. His works are at the intersection of culture, language & technology and notably include several extensive documentation projects to digitally preserve vulnerable cultural traditions of Odisha, spanning performing arts, palm leaf manuscripts, neglected monuments and indigenous languages. He also writes on mythology, arts & ethnomusicology and helps create online tools for Odia. He has been felicitated by the Chief Minister of Odisha for his work in preserving Odia culture using modern technology and the Internet.

I would like to comment on certain statements in the document.

Sanskrit does not have a character looking like Oriya ““” (U+0B35)” for ‘va’. Had it been borrowed from Sanskrit, it would look like ‘’for ‘va’.

Sanskrit has no standard script. It used to be written in a number of scripts in ancient India. The second conditional statement hence does not seem to be well-thought out.

 

“like Navarangpur (distorted as Nabarangpur)”

My hometown is Koraput in Southern Odisha. Nabarangpur is hardly a 2-hour journey, and even though I’ve spent most of my life in those regions, I have never until now heard somebody pronounce ‘Navarangpur’ in place of ‘Nabarangpur’. Members of my extended family have been residents of Nabarangpur for the last five generations. To call their pronunciation a ‘distortion’ (as per whom?) reflects poorly on the author of the statement.

It would not be out of place to cite here my initial response to the inclusion of the dubious character U+0B35. This lists a number of important references which have no mention of U+0B35 hence reestablishing its non-existence in the Odia alphabet.

3.4 : On inclusion of ଵ (U+0B35) as a character in the Odia alphabet

 

It is important to bring to notice that the character ଵ (U+0B35) is or was never a part of the Odia alphabet. How this non-existent symbol found a place in the proposal raises serious questions about the NBGP’s competency and knowledge of the Odia language.

 

A section of the Odia alphabet, as per currently followed practice is :

ପ ଫ ଭ ମ

ଯ ର ଳ

The characters in the following discussion have been emphasized.

 

Historically, the Odia character succeeding LLA (ଳ, 0B33) has been denoted by the same symbol as BA (ବ, 0B2C); this is reflected in the pronunciation. Thus, both letters have the same symbol and pronunciation (IPA:bɔ). Hence, the older ordering of the alphabet was ଯ ର ଳ instead of ଯ ର ଳ ୱ.

 

The character WA (ୱ, 0B71) was added in the last century by respected linguists of the state, including Gopal Chandra Praharaj, in order to enable the native alphabet to represent the sound (wɔ). Before this introduction, the sound (w) existed in Odia only as the second letter in a conjunct and even then, it would be at times broken down to the sounds (u+ɔ). The representation of the (w) sound as a separate letter, often found in English and Hindi was necessitated by 19th and 20th century processes.

 

In some other Indic languages, for example Hindi, the character following ल (LA) is व (VA). A significant difference in pronunciation can be observed between Odia and Hindi in words that begin with VA. The Odia WA can never be the first letter of a word whereas the Hindi VA can be. For tatsama words which have a common Sanskrit origin and exist in both Hindi & Odia, the first letter in Hindi is VA, whereas the same word would begin with BA in Odia. This is another feature of the Odia language’s phonology.

 

In the entire discourse, the character VA (ଵ, 0B35) never finds a place. The non-existence of ଵ in Odia can be corroborated by multiple proofs.

 

Some of the most well-known Odia lexicons and dictionaries do not mention the character anywhere. The largest Odia dictionary and encyclopaedia, Purnachandra Odia Bhasakosa collated by Gopala Chandra Praharaj (1930-40) does not mention the character. Other lexicons compiled by notable linguists including Bhasarthabidhana (Amos Sutton, 1844), Sukhabodha Abhidhana (Madhusudan Rao, 1915), Sabdatattwabodha Abhidhana (Gopinath Nandasarma, 1919), Utkala Abhidhana (Jagannatha Rao & Kulamani Dash, 1931), Odia Abhidhana (Mrutyunjaya Rath & Banchhanidhi Mishra, 1975) also do not mention the character, even for a single time.

Grammars and primary textbooks of the last two centuries. Madhusudan’s Barnabodha (1895) mentions the relevant part of the alphabet as ଯ ର ଳ , with no sign of ଵ anywhere. The Barnabodha, written more than a century ago, is still in use today and is considered the bible among primers in Odia. That a book of its importance omits the character in question is a strong proof of the character’s dubious nature. Latter grammars, including Odia Byakarana Sara (Lacey, 1831), Sarbasara Byakarana (Narayana Mahapatra & Sridhar Dash, 1943), Byakarana Bodha (Kulamani Dash, 1966), Bruhat Odia Byakarana (Nrusingha Sadangi, 1998), Odia Byakarana (7-member editorial committee, 1998).

Books published by governmental institutes of the state do not contain a mention to the ଵ character. These include Ama Byakarana (2012, Board of Secondary Education, Government of Odisha) and Adhunika Odia Lipimala (Odisha State Museum, Directorate of Culture, Government of Odisha).

Historical literature in the language also has no mention of ଵ as a letter. One of the earliest works in Odia, the 13th-century chronicle Madala Panji mentions the entire Odia alphabet on its first page but omits ଵ.

Odia poetry written between the 8th and 19th centuries has special literary genres called chautisa and champu respectively. The chautisa is a 34-stanza poem written in order of the 34 consonants. All lines of a stanza begin with the relevant letter. For example, the first letter of the first stanza is KA (କ), the first letter of the second stanza is KHA (ଖ) and so on. The champu is a similar exercise except that it has 34 songs instead of stanzas. Both these genres easily have more than a thousand writings, and all of them follow the ancient ଯ ର ଳ ordering of the alphabet, with no mention of ଵ whatsoever.

The character ଵ is unknown to native speakers of the language even today. Popular media, including television and print does not use the character.

 

The addition of the character ଵ in the proposal document should therefore be dealt with caution and I would urge concerned members to thoroughly review and if necessary, rewrite the proposal in question with reliable sources & research.

 

Prateek Pattanaik

OFDN”

 

Further comments on the screenshots and reference images given above in support of U+0B35

“Appears doubtful, at least in my judgement.

“I am Dr Sarat kumar Jena, Asst. Professor, Department of Odia, Santiniketan belong to the Ganjam district located in south Orissa where I have spent my school and college days. Now i am also a man of Berhampur, south odisha. The bilabial Ba ବ and dentolabial Va “ଵ” (U+0B35) are properly and distinctly pronounced by the native speakers in south Orissa and may be in some other parts of Orissa also. In our place, we say karivA କରିଵା, dekhivA ଦେଖି ଵା, Karivu କରିଵୁ, dekhivu ki ଦେଖିଵୁ, galAvele ଗଲାଵେଳେ, sadAveLe ସଦାଵେଳେ, Bhadrava ଭାଦ୍ରଵ etc.”

 

I have interacted with hundreds of rural artists in the deep pockets of Ganjam, and my own lineage is from Ghumusara/Paralakhemundi, language and culture hotspots of undivided Ganjam, but I have never heard even a single person pronounce ‘va’ in Odia. The sound itself is never found in Odia.

 

“There are several instances of ancient Oriya literature where the verses are written in alphabetical order from ‘ଅ’ to ‘କ୍ଷ’. These two characters have been described separately, one in bilabial plosive sequence after. ‘pha’ ଫ and other in nonplosive sequence after ‘la’ ଲ . There are numerous such writings few have been illustrated below.”

The references stated above are in fact strong proofs of the non-existence of the symbol ଵ. The character printed in both the cases can be easily observed in the images, it is ବ not ଵ. There are more than one thousand chautisas in Odia language and more proofs can be given, however the images furnished above should be sufficient proofs in themselves.

Another critical error is that the statement mentioning verses written from ‘ଅ’ to ‘କ୍ଷ’. This is not the norm and the vowels are not included in the chautisa and champu. In the context of the examples given all being from the aforesaid two types, this statement reflects a poor grasp of the subject. The very name ‘chautisa’ means ‘thirty-four’, referring to the 34 consonants. This should’ve been rather obvious.

Moreover, the champu and chautisa books cited above (Kisora Chandrananda Champu until Chautisa Madhuchakra) are from the musico-literary traditions of Odisha. I am a practising performer of the books cited and have listened to these traditional texts being rendered by exponents and senior artists for at least the last 7-8 years. From that experience and gramophone recordings of the last two centuries, I can with confidence state that the sound ‘VA’ is never pronounced as an independent character in Odia. The text of the so-called ‘dentolabial va’ song also starts with the character used for the bilabial ba (ବ) and is pronounced like the latter. To use that as a proof of the existence of ଵ is not just ironical, but absurd.

The text of the Kisora Chandrananda Champu might be considered as an example. The author Kabisurjya Baladeba Ratha writes 34 songs after the 34 consonants of the Odia alphabet. Each song has a number of lines and the first letter of each of those lines is the assigned letter. The character ବ appears twice as in the traditional alphabet, while the previous comments mislead the reader into thinking that they are two separate characters. A study of the lines of the champu text would clearly illustrate that this is false.

ବ :
ବିଚକ୍ଷଣାରେ, ବିନା ତୋ ପ୍ରୀତି କେ ଗତି ଅଛି ଜଗତୀରେ
(phonetic transliteration: bichakhyaṇāre / binā to prīti ke gati achi jagatīre)

ବ (which the previous comments claim to be U+0B35 calling it ‘dentolabial va’) :
ବିଚିତ୍ର ବେଶ ମଞ୍ଜୁଳାରେ, ବାଳା ବିବିଧ ଚାତୁରୀଶୀଳା
(phonetic transliteration: bichitra besa manjuḻāre / bāḻā bibidha chāturīsīḻā)

This is the case for all the other screenshots the above comments have used as references. Apart from this, the reference images in the above comments are highly erroneous too. For example, the text encircled in the book Bhupati Chautisa for ‘bilabial ba’ includes the stanzas for the character bha as well. The part encircled for ‘dentolabial va’ includes, quite unreasonably, the stanzas for the next three characters too. Highlighting the publishing dates of these texts is an equally strange thing to do; the texts themselves are from the 17th and 18th centuries. As an extra note, Chautisa Madhuchakra is an anthology, and citing an example from it without proper mention of which literary work the authors intend to refer to is baffling.

“Both Ba and Va have been mentioned in the ‘Chhavila madhu varnabodha’Compiled by Madhusudan Rao, first published in 1895 and still a standard reference book for Oriya orthography.”

This comment regarding the mention of ଵ in the Chhabila Madhu Barnabodha of 1895 is deceptive. While the comment states the year 1895, the actual scan given is of a recent edition. Here is a scan of the sixth edition of 1896, the earliest available digitised edition. It shows no difference between the concerned two characters.

Overall, these statements & references seem to be hastily put up and their veracity is highly dubious.”

Methodology:

The O Foundation (OFDN) engaged with a total of about 5,200 individuals using online tools — social media, emails, individual messages, and even phone calls. 94 individuals in one private group responded with substantial inputs  whereas 12 out of 5030+ individuals engaged on a public forum.

Various individuals in different ways — ways that they are most comfortable with. It is important that all the stakeholders are engaged in a more accessible manner — meaning that they are given the option to contribute in a way they are most comfortable with. So, OFDN reached out to Odia-language scholars and linguists, historians, authors, academics, researchers, developers with long standing contribution to Odia computing, a doctor who engages with the general public, a typeface/font designer, a cultural researcher acknowledged by the Chief Minister of Odisha who has documented some of the rare performing arts of Odisha that use old Odia, and a National Geographic Explorer-filmmaker who has documented some of most endangered languages of Odisha.

 

OFDN and its members reached out to aforementioned individuals over social media for more than a month and engaged publicly with some of them where others some responded privately. As getting consent in all these engagement platforms is challenging, those who have given consent/shared publicly are attributed, and the rest are attributed unanimously.

Document compiled by Prateek Pattanaik and Subhashish Panigrahi for O Foundation (OFDN).

Released under a CC-BY-SA 4.0 International license. OFDN (2018)

About the author(s)

Works at the intersection of human culture and technology. Uses digital documentation to preserve critically endangered cultural elements. Pothi covers performing arts, rare books and manuscripts, heritage monuments, musical traditions and much more through audio-visual documentation archives, research, translations, toolkits and educational resources.

Subhashish P. is one of the founding members of O Foundation and founder OpenSpeaks which won him the MJ Bear Fellowship and a grant from National Geographic to digitally-document threatened languages.

A documentary filmmaker, Open Culture Advocate, and community catalyst over a decade of experience leading community building, outreach and partnership across Asia Pacific at Internet Society, Mozilla, Centre for Internet and Society, and Wikimedia Foundation.

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