In the context of rapid
growth in computer and internet technology the worldwide efforts
of Tamilians in the use of Tamil fully through internet should
be promoted. Their interaction through internet should be expanded.
To meet these goals, an International Conference -TamilNet'99
- held on 7th and 8th Feb 1999 arrived
at the following decisions:-
- Standardization of
Tamil Key Board Layout
- There has been an
evolution of keyboard layouts developed for inputting Tamil characters
into computers. Over the years many improvements have been incorporated.
In practice there are basically three types of keyboard layouts
for Tamil namely, Romanized keyboard layout, Tamil Typewriter
based keyboard layout and Phonetic keyboard layout. Of these,
the phonetic keyboards have become more popular because of their
user friendliness and lesser effort involved. While standardizing
the keyboard layout the following aspects were considered:
- Tamil characters frequently
used should be placed in strong finger positions and less frequently
used in the light finger positions.
- The less frequently
used grantha letters should be put in locations with shift key
- The short and long
vowels shall be kept in adjacent positions for convenient rememberence
and easy operations.
- Those Tamil letters
which normally appear conjointly, such as
ï¢î, ù¢ø should be placed adjacently for easy
- Incorporating the
above aspects, a standard for the phonetic keyboard (Figure -1) is adopted. It was also decided
that the various key boards evolved in different parts of the
world should be documented for reference.
- Till switchover to
the use of Phonetic Keyboard takes place, the Tamil Typewriter
based keyboard proposed by the Keyboard Committee constituted
by the Government of Tamilnadu during 1997 (Figure-2)
may continue without
- Further, the Romanazised
Keyboard for Tamil proposed by the Tamilnadu Keyboard Committee
is suggested for use by those familiar with spoken Tamil only
and those who prefer English characters for typing Tamil text
- Necessary steps may
be initiated to encourage widespread use of the Phonetic Keyboard.
of coding of Tamil Scripts.
1. For ensuring compatibility
in development of softwares for use of Tamil in computers and
internet, a standardized system of encoding should be adopted.
For this purpose the following encoding scheme is agreed upon.
- For softwares based
on a Monolingual Glyph Encoding System, the following scheme
is recommended. (Figure
- For softwares based
on Bilingual Glyph Encoding System the following adaptation is
2. Realizing the importance and
criticality of addressing and ensuring the changeover from the
existing codes presently in use, the proposed codes are recommended
as draft standard. The draft standard should be made available
to one and all from a website specifically created for this purpose
and a time frame of 100 days from 9th February 1999
should be provided to facilitate developers to use the draft
codes in various computer platforms and software to evaluate
for compatibility and adaptability. The decision on the codes
to be adopted as the standard should be taken at a meeting to
be held by June 1, 1999. The procedure to receive and consolidate
the experience feedback on the draft standard will be set forth
by a monitoring committee comprising of experts from within and
- The Tamilnadu Government
should provide encouragement and help to convert the exiting
software systems into the new encoding system
- The present system
of Tamil Character Encoding used in UNICODE needs to be modified
to suit the special features of Tamil characters. The Government
of Tamilnadu may take steps to undertake the necessary consultations
with concerned organizations. An Expert Group on UNICODE for
Tamil should be constituted for this purpose which may also consider
the following Tamil Character Encoding system (Figure
of Tamil in Multimedia, Internet and Computing.
- To exploit the opportunities
to implement the future developments in computers and internet
using Tamil, active research should be initiated world wide.
For this purpose, it is necessary to create a Tamil Internet
Research Centre at the state level and a world wide Internet
Communication Facility for Tamil.
- We should make the
rich Tamil Literature and the Linguistic Grammer available in
the Internet. It is necessary to develop Computer Software for
Tamil dictionary, thesaurus, spell checking, E-mail, handwriting
recognition, optical character recognition, voice processing,
natural language processing, palm leaf character recognition
etc. The Governments in countries having Tamil as an official
Language, private organizations and universities should support
- The International
Conference on TamilNet should be organized every year.