Chapter 1: How the world writes

Every language has its own writing system. Many languages in Europe and elsewhere are written in the Latin alphabet but each language has adapted it to its own requirements. Further afield, the world teems with languages written in completely different alphabets and writing systems. Inside the computer, however, every piece of text is stored as a sequence of numbers. In this chapter, we will look at the methods that have been developed throughout the IT industry's evolution to convert text in various languages into numbers and back, and how these methods work (or do not work) for specific languages.

You can read the chapter in Irish in the printed book »

Chapter contents

  • Character encoding
  • An encoding for English: ASCII
  • The alphabets of Europe
  • The age of character sets
  • Garbled text
  • Here comes Unicode
  • Text encoding in various software packages


Book cover
An Ríomhaire Ilteangach
Michal Boleslav Měchura
145 pages
Cois Life 2017
ISBN 978-1-907494-70-3
Note. Although this website is bilingual in Irish and English, the book itself is in Irish only.