Tuesday, 27 October 2009

How do you spell that address again?

Until now, a url has had to consist only of ASCII characters (and not even all of them are allowed). According to reports in the press, this is about to change. As from the middle of November “domain names written in Asian, Arabic or other scripts” will be allowed.
This is only fair. Everyone ought to be allowed a domain name written in their own usual writing system.
I haven’t seen the details yet, but this presumably means that we will be able to start using domain names and urls written in IPA symbols, too.
I look forward to encountering email addresses like dʒɒn_smɪθ@lʌfbrə.ac.uk. (More seriously, email addresses like корженков@москва.ru and νικολάϊδης@αθήνας.gr will presumably become available, as well as the equivalents in Chinese, Japanese and Korean.)
That means that a whole new group of users will need to be taught how to enter Unicode characters into their email programs and web browsers. Not only will the Japanese need to be able to enter Latin letters with their keyboards, as now, but the English will need to be able to enter kana characters. And Chinese. And IPA.

9 comments:

  1. Each domain registrar will be able to set limits on what characters it allows, so if you hope to register dʒɑːnwelz.com, you may be out of luck. I would certainly expect registrars to disallow ː, in particular, since it looks too much like a colon (which is illegal in domain names and will remain so).

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  2. I should also add that every non-ASCII domain name also has an ASCII equivalent: see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internationalized_domain_name for details.

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  3. Based upon that article that John Cowan passed along, at first glance it doesn't look like any of the domain registrars plan on including IPA Unicode in their implementation. So I think you may be thinking wishfully...

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  4. Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but did John spell "Moscow" wrong in his Russian example?

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  5. Whoops! Now corrected: москва.

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  6. I think John is much more likely to want to register as dʒɒnwelz.kɒm

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  7. John Maidment: Whoops, yes. I'm a U.S. John, so I'm used to writing my name that way in IPA. (LOT=PALM, that's me. In full, my mergers are TRAP=BATH, LOT=PALM, NURSE=TERM=DIRT, FLEECE=BEAM, FACE=TRAIL=FREIGHT, THOUGHT=CLOTH, GOAT=SNOW, GOOSE=THREW, NORTH=FORCE.)

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  8. This is god damn diffuicult. I don't want to try it again.

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