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Let’s Learn IDNs!

Kevin Murphy, October 23, 2013, 13:38:35 (UTC), Domain Registries

The eagle-eyed regular DI reader will have noticed earlier today that I published an article claiming the first new gTLD had already gone live. Not only that, it already had a resolving web site!
That was dead wrong. The story lasted about a minute before I yanked it.
I won’t go into all the details, but suffice it to say that the confusion arose because I don’t read a word of Arabic.
I don’t read a character of Arabic either. I don’t even know where one character ends and the next begins. Or, given the way the script functions, where one begins and the next ends.
So I thought today would be an excellent time to launch Let’s Learn IDNs!, an irregular series of posts in which I, with a significant amount of help from new gTLD registries, attempt to explain IDN strings.
I’m guessing there are a large number of readers out there whose eyes, like mine, glaze over whenever they see an IDN.
We can’t tell one Chinese (or Arabic, Cyrillic, Hebrew…) TLD from another, but it would probably make our professional lives a fair bit easier if we could.
Let’s Learn IDNs! will therefore contain just enough information to help DI’s largely Latin-script-using readers recognize an IDN when they see one.
I’m not going to attempt to teach anyone Greek, but hopefully you’ll be able to come away from the series with a better chance of telling the difference between .新闻 and .八卦.
Which is obviously hugely, hugely important.
(That’s DI’s first joke in Chinese. Thanks.)
The first post, coming later today or tomorrow, will focus on TLD Registry’s .中文网 (“.chinesewebsite”).
If you’re an IDN gTLD registry and I’ve not reached out to you already, feel free to get in touch to find out how to get a Let’s Learn IDNs! post for your own string.

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Comments (5)

  1. Rubens Kuhl says:

    新闻 is when I tell you. 八卦 is when others tell you.

  2. Fantastic initiative Kevin. 好好学习,天天向上!

  3. Alex says:

    Like the dotShabaka series, another good idea!

  4. Bill says:

    I look forward to reading these posts and learning about IDNs.
    For example, I would love to know how شبكة. becomes .xn--ngbc5azd or 游戏 becomes .xn--unup4y. (OK, I get that the xn-- is a flag that the rest represents the actual domain name)

  5. Kassey says:

    “telling the difference between .新闻 and .八卦.” Amusing, Kevin. These days, 新闻 is actually mostly 八卦 and so there’s not much value in reading 一般.新闻 (general news)

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