Frequently Asked Questions
Ans: Absolutely NOT! Let us be absolutely clear about our philosophy. At Ekalipi we absolutely love the diversity of the world's languages. We do find it important to distinguish between the language and the tool, namely the script, which is used for communicating the intent. What we are saying is that the language and the script used to render the content are separate. In some instances the script is unique to the language. In most instances a script is shared between multiple languages (albeit with some modifications). Historically languages have stayed with their original scripts. However there are instances where a language uses more than one script e.g. Serbian which uses Cyrillic and Latin, Konkani uses 5 scripts Devanagari, Kannada, Malayalam, Persian, and Roman. Scripts have been replaced too. Hungarian has adopted 3 different scripts through history. Turkey changed from Arabic to a modified Latin script in 1929.
Let us be absolutely clear about our philosophy. At Ekalipi we absolutely love the diversity of the world's languages. We do find it important to distinguish between the language and the tool, namely the script that is used for communicating the intent.
Ans:The total population is 9 billion. Some individuals have probably been double counted. It is interesting to note that over 40% of the population is using non-Latin scripts. Even within Latin, there is a large variation in the number of characters in the alphabet and the sound(s) represented by each character. The numbers range from 26 in English to 44 in Turkish and many in between.
Ans:It is true that you have to learn a new script. However we have worked hard to make sure that the script is very easy to learn and use. There are only 15 characters that are not in the English alphabet. The 24 "English" characters represent the most common root sound of the character as they are used in English. We estimate that it will take 1-2 hours for a person familiar with a phonetic script to be proficient in this script. For a person not familiar with a phonetic script we estimate that it will take about 3-4 hours. Compare this investment to the lifetime benefits that you receive. And remember that you are proficient in your current script only because you have spent many years of your life mastering it.
Ans:IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) is a very complex scheme that contains 107 letters, 31 diacritics to modify them and 19 additional signs to specify the length, tone, stress and intonation. And all this is just for English. Each language needs its own IPA. Ekalipi on the other hand believes in the well-known Pareto principle (the 80-20) rule. We think that Ekalipi can provide up to 95% coverage. We feel that the 39 characters in Ekalipi today (may be expanded to 48) is sufficient for most languages. We feel that most of us will not be willing to use something that requires learning more than 48 characters. In short IPA is probably good for linguists, scientists to do their research into linguistics. For the rest of us Ekalipi is the solution.
Ans:English is notoriously inconsistent in its relationship between spelling and pronunciation. The situation is especially tragic because the script instead of easing comprehension actually becomes a hindrance. English language spelling can trip up not only those learning English but also those whose native language is English (even the experts). English speakers now talk in one language but write a different one.It is estimated that the average child in English speaking countries (UK, US, Australia etc.) is 2 years behind their counterpart in countries where the language and script are consistent it one another. What a colossal waste! It is high time English adopted a script like Ekalipi. If you don't want to learn it for yourself, learn it and teach it to them for your kids future. This article explains it far better than I can: How the English language is holding kids back Note: The article is focused exclusively on English. Remember that Ekalipi goes way beyond that. It is one solution for all the world's languages.
Ans:Devanagari and scripts such as Gujarati and Tamil are in principle very similar to Ekalipi. However there are some limitations which led us to conclude that they are not the right choice when compared to Ekalipi.
Ans:Chinese has thousands of characters that are difficult for both the sender and receiver to master. In the case of Ekalipi since the focus is on the spoken language the problem is not surmountable. There could be an issue with inflection/intonation changing the meaning of a word but we are working on a common solution for both Chinese and some African languages.
Ans:Modern technology now makes it possible to actually bring this idea to fruition. Its success however depends on you, the reader using it in your daily life and evangelizing this idea to your friends and colleagues. EkaLipi is expected to be operational by April 2014. Since our developers, supporters and stake holders are spread all over the world, we plan on using this web site to share all vital information, pictures of our innovation, progress, and news.
Ans:These are the characters used in Ekalipi:
Ans:We expect that most of the characters will not change but we do expect that a few will. We are targeting 31 December 2015 as the date for finalizing our character set. After that changes will be minimal. Note- The sounds will remain the same.So please let us know before December 2015 if you would like to see any changes (add/change/delete) and let us know why. We will carefully examine your suggestions and implement them if they are feasible. Here are some criteria we would like you to consider:
Ans:It is a valid concern. A number of us are annoyed when we receive an email from someone with all the letters in capitals. It seems that they are shouting or angry. We are experimenting with lower case letters and making capitals optional. Please study the current keyboard layout and the suggested lower case keyboard and let us know which one you prefer.Depending on your votes, we will standardize the keyboard layout.
Ans:There are three things at work here, pronunciation, dialect and accent. These are the important differences between these terms and they are often confused:
Ans:This is the classic chicken vs egg situation. Until enough people learn and use Ekalipi it will not have the critical mass. We hope that you like the Ekalipi concept. It is now up to you to become Ekalipi evangelists. Tell your friends and family about it and encourage them to learn and use it. Convince them that the hour or two that they spend learning it will bring a lifetime of rewards. We are working hard to make training materials available to make this task easy.
Ans:Transliteration and typing in Roman script are currently in vogue because so far they are the only solutions that people are aware of. Transliteration is difficult to use and typing in Roman involves a lot of guesswork on the part of the reader. Why not use Ekalipi the perfect solution instead? We can promise you that once you start using it, you will agree and so will your friends.