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Meaning of Transliterate [was Re: Poor State of the Man Pages]

Shlomi Fish
December 3, 2003 05:59
Meaning of Transliterate [was Re: Poor State of the Man Pages]
Message ID:
On Tue, 2 Dec 2003, Abhijit Menon-Sen wrote:

> At 2003-12-01 17:50:32 -0600, wrote:
> >
> > This operation was termed "translation" by some whimsical software
> > engineer deep in the mists of long-ago, due to the functional
> > similarity between the operation of tr(1) and the activity of
> > translating language by looking up words in a bilinugal dictionary.
> Er, did you mean to say transliterate instead of translate? If so, then
> the rest of your message makes no sense, because there is no similarity
> between the operation of tr(1) and looking up words in a dictionary. If
> not, then your message still makes no sense, because the operation was
> never termed translation in the first place.
> I don't understand the argument anyway. My copy of the OED defines the
> word transliterate as «To replace letters or characters of one language
> by those of another used to represent the same sounds; to write (a word,
> etc.) in the characters of another alphabet.»
> That's precisely what tr(1) does:

Not exactly. When transliterating a spoken language in another spoken
language, I may have more or less letters in each language for each sound
than the other (depending on how it sounds). For example, in Hebrew the
word "Shalom" has four letters while the English Transliteration has 6.


	Shlomi Fish

> takes a string written in one language
> (whose symbols are characters in some charset), and replaces the letters
> with the language described by the arguments (which consists of the same
> symbols, except that the ones in SEARCHLIST are replaced by the ones in
> Or are people just forgetting that "language" is also a term stolen from
> linguistics and given a specific meaning by computer science? :-)
> -- ams

Shlomi Fish
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