[Pkg-fonts-devel] Sponsoring a font package

Nicolas Spalinger nicolas_spalinger at sil.org
Thu Mar 27 18:08:37 UTC 2008


> I still think that choosing "aboriginal" is quite inappropriate and
> could even sound offending by other populations calling self (or
> having been called) Aboriginal (I seem to remember exchanges I had
> with Enrico Zini about "aboriginal" languages in Taiwan).
> So, I would urge you to raise this issue with upstream and discuss
> it. It seems to me that these fonts could be young enough for a rename
> to be sustainable.
> And, frankly, from my POV, I don't immediately think about
> North-American native populations when I hear "aboriginal" (which I
> immediately translate to "aborigène" in French, whether it's correct
> or not).

Yes, that was my first reaction too, but then after some research I
realized that the term is wider than my initial understanding and that 
the designer may well have chosen this name because his
fonts cover (among other things) the "Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics"
Unicode block (U1400 introduced in 3.0):

And AFAIK the Unicode consortium has a policy of researching names quite 
thoroughly. Looks like it's an official term used in institutions 
controlled by the Fist Nations/Indigenous Peoples (or whichever way 
languages communities want to call themselves) and also recognized by 
the Canadian Constitution:

I freely admit I know next to nothing about Canada (it's a huge area and
I've only been there twice for a very short time) and that this is
potentially controversial. My recommendation would be to go for 
autonyms: the way actual users of the languages (and related Unicode 
blocks when they exist) call themselves. But it's not always doable. So 
I recommend we trust upstream and Neskie Manuel on this. The short and 
long description of the package can help those among us who may not be 
not fully aware of the meaning to understand it better and so reduce 
possible misunderstandings.

Christian, were you referring to this work by Enrico and others for 
languages communities in Taïwan? I remember talking with Enrico briefly 
about this at Debconf in Edinburgh. Arne Götze is also very involved 
apparently. Certainly pretty impressive work :-)


Nicolas Spalinger

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