david on 14 Nov 2000 18:36:29 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] Re: <nettime> Asia and domain names, etc. (@)

At 00:43 +0900 00.11.14, Diwakar Agnihotri wrote:
> last year a singapore-based company called i-DNS.net International
> introduced the facility of registering/using native language domain names
> - in chinese and thai - and in tamil this year (they also plan to
> introduce more indian languages). lots of non-english domain names have
> also been registered with the company. the company even submitted a
> progress report at the Annual Internet Society Conference '99 (INET), San
> Jose. why then did the Internet Society fail to advise this company
> against implementing its technology? could there be any politics involved?
> also, do you think language-chauvinism plays a role in such organisations
> governing the net? i'd like to know your views (i'm planning to write a
> story for our site, based on this "warning").

Thai is a relatively uniform writing system which functions within the
borders of the nation that defines/is defined by it. I would imagine that
it has enjoyed an orchestrated introduction into cyberspace.
The question of 'chinese' is much more complicated, and certainly
chauvinistic. Consider the linguistic elements of a 'one China' policy: The
PRC uses a character set that was abbreviated within a political journey
never taken by the ROC, where their writing system is more or less
consistent with that of a century ago. Add to this that Japanese and Korean
both use elements of this writing system, adopted piece and meal from
across (several) centuries which create a textual body not at all
consistent with any one point in this writing system's 'chinese' evolution.
Their various entries into the on-line world all include developing
different input methods for the Roman character-based keyboard, according
to the phoneticisation of their various dialects and languages. In all
cases they are double-byte characters, and need to be encoded first to be
sent over the single-byte (roman character) based networks of the 'wired'
network world. The encoding systems are also diverse. (There are debates
within each of these nations about uniform encoding, much less the kind of
problems that show up when databasing across cultures) Of course the
Japanese encoding methods can not be imposed upon the Koreans, PRC and ROC
and more than the PRC's abbreviated characters can be used in Taiwan, Korea
and Japan. Or maybe it's all a question of moving towards domain names,
each to their own encryption, like so many secure cyber wallets whose every
transaction is worth the money it's encrypted on, and then the language of
choice just won't be a question any longer?

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