Thursday, 18 January 2018

Computer Science Internationalization - Kazakhstan

I discovered, just yesterday, that Қазақстан Kazakhstan is to change itʼs writing system from the Cyrillic script to the Latin script. One proposal for the new Latin script based writing system makes extensive use of apostrophes

One argument against this apostrophe based system, from the above article is that it will be impossible to create twitter hashtags. Well yes and no. If you use the standard apostrophe which most standard keyboards will produce, then yes it will break twitter hashtags. There is though more than one apostrophe in Unicode. If you look at and you will see that there is one apostrophe which does not break twitter hashtags.

With my OSX ABC - Extended keyboard I can, as with any standard keyboard, type the usual apostrophe ' U+0027 APOSTROPHE but also I can type the non breaking apostrophe ʼ U+02BC MODIFIER LETTER APOSTROPHE using the key combination alt i. There is one minor complication. If the next character you will be typing, after typing the non breaking apostrophe, is either u or o then you will end up with ư U1B0 LATIN SMALL LETTER U WITH HORN or ơ U+01A1 LATIN SMALL LETTER O WITH HORN, respectively. A simple way round this problem is to type the key sequence alt i followed by space. Actually, I will make it my working practice to always use the key sequence because, inevitably, I will forget about the consequences of typing u or o after the non breaking apostrophe.

Your keyboard may well have some key combination or key sequence for typing the non breaking apostrophe. If not, then it is not actually that hard to modify a keyboard to produce the non breaking apostrophe. The last time I modified a keyboard I used Ukelele

I have been searching for new Kazakh Latin script words and so far have found three. I have replaced breaking apostrophes with the non breaking apostrophe and put them in a tweet as hashtags ➜

If you are wondering why I am using a lot of upper case words, it is a Unicode convention.