The grounds for the initiative are the following:
1. The Latin alphabet is often used for the writing of messages in Bulgarian. This is effectuated most often on the Internet and when sending an SMS (text messages to a GSM).
The contemporary Bulgarian practice is a unique chaos. Internet communication increases, especially among children and young people who do this in Bulgarian language, but with Latin letters. And not with one Latin alphabet, but with many “Internet jargons”. Bulgarian words are written in Latin letters in all imaginable ways.
A similar chaos is unknown in other countries, which, like us, have their non-Latin letters. There is nothing of the sort in neighbouring Greece or in more distant countries like Israel, China or Japan. They have an established unified practice for the writing of the words in the respective language with Latin letters. When they have to use the Latin alphabet, all of them write in the same way, like literate people.
People using the Latin alphabet to write in Bulgarian, are forced to do so. In the same way, the deaf-mutes communicate through sign language because they have no other choice, not because they do not want to speak. These people need help, not a reprimand for the fact that they have a problem. The way to relieve writing and reading in the Latin alphabet is to introduce a standard. This will decrease the efforts of people, who are forced to use the Latin alphabet due to technical reasons.
The standard will also help those who have been compelled thus far to read and write in the Latin alphabet in order to communicate with people who don’t have a Cyrillic alphabet, though they, themselves, have it. After the introduction of a standard, programs will be created, which will automatically transliterate from Cyrillic to Latin alphabet and vice versa. With the help of these programs, communication with people who do not have the Latin alphabet will be possible, without writing and reading in the Latin alphabet.
4. There are people who use the Latin alphabet to hide their illiteracy. For example, in chat rooms, many chatters write in the Latin alphabet though they have a Cyrillic one. The reason is that there is no standard for writing in Latin and nobody could accuse them of writing incorrectly. Our expectations are that these people will be the biggest opponents of the standard. Despite that, the introduction of a standard will assist them as well, because it will permit them to use a spell checker not only when writing in the Cyrillic alphabet, but also in the Latin alphabet.
At present, it is very difficult to write an SMS in Bulgarian, because there is no phonetic keyboard for GSM phones. There is only one accepted keyboard arrangement, but it is very difficult to use, when the Cyrillic letters are not written on the keys. Whatsmore, most of the users of GSM phones are accustomed to the arrangement of the Latin alphabet and do not wish to learn another keyboard in order to be able to write in the Cyrillic alphabet.
It is important to encourage the use of the Cyrillic alphabet for the writing of SMS in Bulgarian, because this will allow the utilisation of the T9 mode, based on a dictionary incorporated in the phone. The use of this mode will lead to a number of positive consequences. First, this will be convenient for the users. Now, an average of two to three keys have to be pressed for the writing of a single letter. In the T9 mode, only one key for a letter is pressed. This is convenient for the GSM users and is also constructive, because it requires the observation of spelling rules. And this will make our teenagers much more literate.
Together with the introduction of a transliteration standard, the question of the Phonetic arrangement of the keyboard has to be also solved. There are two keyboard arrangements at present in Bulgaria - the BDS and the Phonetic one. The first is more useful for the people who have command over it, but people who only have knowledge of the English arrangement, prefer to use the Phonetic one. The problem with this arrangement is that it is not state standard like the BDS, yet it could be, because many countries have more than one standard for keyboard arrangements. The fact that the phonetic arrangement is not a state standard, leads to the problem that many companies do not support it. For example, you cannot find it in the Windows versions, because Microsoft supports only state standards, i.e., only BDS..
Bulgarian abroad have to deal with computers whose keyboards do not have the BDS letters written on them and they find it very hard to work on such a keyboard. On the other side, for them, BDS is the only option, because in order to install a phonetic arrangement, they have to also install additional programs like Flex Type, which they may do not have. Very often, these people are forced to write in the Latin alphabet. What they have written is either sent to other Bulgarians who try to decode it, or is later on rewritten in the Cyrillic alphabet (something which doubles their work).
Another problem of the Phonetic arrangement is that it is not coordinated with the transliteration standard - at least, because there is no such standard. For example, if, during transliteration, Â is transliterated with V, it will be good if the letter B is placed on the V key in the phonetic arrangement.
7. Upon the introduction of a standard, the problem with the thirty first letter in the Bulgarian language should also be solved, namely, the Cyrillic grave È. The problems with it are two - the first is that there is no key to write it with, and second - the letter is missing in most of the type scripts (even if they have been cyrillized especially in Bulgarian).
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