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[freeciv-data] Re: Russian.ruleset

[freeciv-data] Re: Russian.ruleset

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To: freeciv-data@xxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: [freeciv-data] Re: Russian.ruleset
From: Thanasis Kinias <tkinias@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 4 May 2002 21:23:57 -0700
Reply-to: freeciv-data@xxxxxxxxxxx

scripsit Dmitriy Genzel:
> 1. The letter "jo" is practically never written in Russian anyway.
> Everyone writes "e". You'd be hard pressed to find any place where it is
> written as "e" with dots in cyrillic script. If you write
> in transliteration, you may write it as "jo", I suppose, but few people
> bother.

Diasporan usage is not necessarily the best model.  In the days when
everything was 7-bit ASCII, Greeks in the US resorted to some very 
horrible things to try to write Greek in ASCII.  My name (Athanásios in
UN transcription) would be A8avaqios, which is, while ingenious, truly
ugly IMHO, not to mention very unintuitive for someone who doesn't
already read Greek.

The "with dots" usage comes from the Soviet (and later Russian)
government and UN work on toponym standardization.  Since we're dealing
here with standardizing toponyms, I figure deferring to their authority
isn't all that wrong.

In addition, Russian names are difficult enough to pronounce correctly
without removing any of the orthographic hints.  How, if I'm not
familiar with the city (or the word), do I know that it's pronounced
`orJOL' and not `ORjel'?  

> 2. The character you use is not in 7-bit ascii. That makes it very hard to
> type, and very confusing to read if you happen to have a russian font
> installed, which uses the upper 128 characters to encode cyrillics. Thus
> your letter will look like some other (cyrillic) letter inserted in the
> middle of latin ones.

I chose to use 8-bit ISO Latin-1 encoding instead of sticking to 7-bit
ASCII because it is used already in Freeciv for, e.g., French, German,
Spanish, and Portuguese.  If you're trying to display Latin-1 as KOI-8
you'll have problems with all of these, not just the Russian file.  I
would strongly recommend figuring out how to set up a UTF-8 locale if
you need to use Cyrillic.

> > every goes UTF-8, of course, we can do it really properly--but then we
> > don't really need to transliterate at all.

> Do you really think that most people would be able to read and remember
> the name of the city if it's written in cyrillic? Cyrillic is not too bad,
> as it has many latin-looking characters, but, say, hebrew or chinese would
> be horrible.

I know.  I was just dreaming (I happen to read Cyrillic, Greek, and
Arabic scripts, so I think it would be neat--but I'm sure I won't
convince any developers to write BIDI stuff for a game like this).
Adopting a uniform transliteration system is, of course, much more
prudent.  I haven't looked at the Arabic yet, BTW; that's my next

> > It was renamed Vjatka in 1780, Kirov in 1934, and back to Vjatka 1992.
> I am not sure it makes sense to use city names that most Russians wouldn't
> recognize, even if they are historic. Is there a general Freeciv policy on
> this?

I don't believe there is.  As an historian, I am more distracted by
having `Kirov' in the bronze age than I am by having `Hlynov' in the
nuclear age.  Do you really think it would diminish someone's enjoyment
of a quasi-historical game to use period names?  I mean, Hlynov/Vjatka
has been around since 1174, or 828 years.  73% of that time it was
called Hlynov.  If it was founded as Hlynov but had been Vjatka since,
say, 1350, I would say go with Vjatka for sure.  Does that make sense?

Thanasis Kinias
Web Developer, Information Technology
Graduate Student, Department of History
Arizona State University
Tempe, Arizona, U.S.A.

Ash nazg durbatulûk, ash nazg gimbatul,
Ash nazg thrakatulûk agh burzum-ishi krimpatul

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