Nicholas Ostler, Chairman, Foundation for Endangered Languages, to Keynote 33rd Internationalization & Unicode Conference

August 26, 2009

San Jose, Calif., USA; October 14-16, 2009

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Aug. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Unicode(R) Consortium today announced that Nicholas Ostler, Chairman, Foundation for Endangered Languages, will keynote the 33rd Internationalization & Unicode(R) Conference (IUC). The conference, sponsored by Gold Sponsors Adobe, Inc. and WinSoft, will take place in San Jose, Calif., USA; October 14-16, 2009. For more information and to register please visit http://www.unicodeconference.org/keynote-pr.

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Mr. Ostler will present “The Alphabetic Principle and its Enemies.”

The alphabetic principle for writing seems brilliantly simple, and its implementation, often subverting other options, has often caused explosive growths in literacy, with important historical consequences for cultural survival. Its great advantages are economy of effort in the learner, and ready application to new languages. However, it has drawbacks as to speed for the initiated user, and also (by being essentially mechanical and phonetic) in representing many of the cultural overtones which people like their written language to have. There is, too, a certain resistance to the role of art in writing. But as alphabetic traditions age, becoming less purely alphabetic, these disadvantages can be reduced. New structures may emerge, meaningful patterns that leave alphabets far behind. Alphabetic scripts have more recently revealed new aspects, defining a convenient order to index anything, inspiring the phonemic principle of structural linguistics, and later mapping more easily than other systems onto digital systems, and hence a whole new set of functions for written language. But the alphabet remains a rather arbitrary means of representing meanings, since its icons are parasitic on the particular sounds of particular words in particular languages, a long way from thoughts.

About the Keynote Presenter

Nicholas Ostler holds an MA in classics, philosophy and economics from Oxford, and a Ph.D. in linguistics from MIT. His first job was teaching in Japan, later consulting on machine translation for Fujitsu. Returning to England, he worked in IT research during the 1980s and ’90s, especially with the UK government, and the European Union. He has been Chairman of the Foundation for Endangered Languages (www.ogmios.org) since its inception in 1996. He also edited its newsletter Ogmios until 2006. Within descriptive linguistics, his main research field has been the grammar of the (extinct) Chibcha language of Colombia. He has served on the board of the British National Corpus, the LSA’s Committee for Endangered Languages, and on the editorial board of the International Journal of American Linguistics. As a writer, his book “Empires of the Word: A Language History of the World” (HarperCollins, 2005) traced the histories of the large literate languages, from Sumerian to English, considering the factors that make for large-scale expansion. Later, “Ad Infinitum: A Biography of Latin” (Walker & Co., 2007) considered the attitudes that have accompanied the Latin language throughout its 2,500 year recorded history. He is now at work on a book about the prospects of English as a global lingua franca, in the light of the competition, past and present. This is due for publication in 2010.

About the Internationalization & Unicode Conference

The Internationalization & Unicode Conference is the premier technical conference for both software and Web internationalization. Unicode and internationalization experts, implementers, clients and vendors are invited to attend this unique conference. The program committee has created an exciting program full of new and cutting-edge topics that is relevant and engaging for the internationalization community. The three-day conference will feature a full day of tutorials followed by two days of presentations, panels and discussions. There will also be technology exhibits and demonstrations. The interactive format makes the Internationalization & Unicode Conference a great place to meet and exchange ideas with leading experts, find out about the needs of potential clients, or get information about new and existing Unicode and internationalization-enabled products.

The 33rd Internationalization & Unicode Conference is sponsored by Gold Sponsors Adobe, Inc. and WinSoft; Media Sponsors MultiLingual Computing Inc., Globalization Insider; and Organizational Sponsor Localization Industry Standards Association (LISA).

The early-bird registration deadline is September 4, 2009; the hotel registration deadline is September 23, 2009. For full conference details and to register, visit http://www.unicodeconference.org/keynote-pr. Sponsorships and exhibit space are available; for more information on sponsoring contact Ken Berk, kenberk@omg.org, +1-781-444 0404, or exhibiting contact Mike Narducci at mike@omg.org, +1-781-444 0404. For all other questions email info@unicodeconference.org.

About The Unicode Consortium

The Unicode Consortium is a non-profit organization founded to develop, extend and promote use of the Unicode Standard and related globalization standards.

The membership of the consortium represents a broad spectrum of corporations and organizations in the computer and information processing industry. Members are: Adobe Systems, Apple, DENIC eG, Google, Government of India, Government of Tamil Nadu, IBM, Microsoft, Monotype Imaging, Oracle, The Society for Natural Language Technology Research, Sun Microsystems, Sybase, The University of California at Berkeley, Yahoo!, plus well over a hundred Associate, Liaison, and Individual members.

For more information, please contact the Unicode Consortium http://www.unicode.org/contacts.html.

About the Event Producer

OMG(TM) is the Event Producer for the Internationalization & Unicode Conferences. OMG is an open membership, not-for-profit consortium that produces and maintains computer industry specifications for interoperable enterprise applications. Our specifications include MDA(R), UML(R), CORBA(R), MOF(TM), XMI(R) and CWM(TM). OMG’s specifications are all available for download by everyone without charge.

For more information about OMG, visit us online at http://www.omg.org.

CONTACT: Stephanie Covert, OMG, +1-843-737 0637, info@unicodeconference.org

SOURCE OMG (Object Management Group)

Source: newswire

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