Universal Multiple-Octet Coded Character Set
International Organization for Standardization

Doc Type: Working Group Document

Title: Proposal for Encoding Nepalese script in the ISO/IEC 10646

Source: Committee for Standardization of Nepali in Computers, Royal Kingdom of Nepal

Status: Country Contribution

Action: For consideration by JTC1/SC2/WG2 in Fukuoka Meeting

Date: March 5, 1999

This is a proposal for encoding the National language of Nepal which has 22.8 million population using this language within the country and more outside the country within the region. Even though Nepali does use standard Devanagari characters, but the current standards do not suffice the needs of the country due to some missing characters. As can be seen from the utilization and the practice within the country, the present standards have not been used within the country, except in India. Hence, this proposal for a new standards that can also address the vernacular languages eg. Newari, Gurung, Magar, etc.



1. Title: Proposal for Additional Characters Encoding the Nepalese (also known as Nepali) Language script in the ISO/IEC 10646.

2. Requester’s Name: Allen Bailochan Tuladhar, Coordinator, Committee for Standardization of Nepali in Computers, Kathmandu, Royal Kingdom of Nepal

Contact information:

PO Box 956, Kantipath, 3rd Floor, Opposite Jyoti Bhawan, Kathmandu, NEPAL.
Ph: +977-1-249668; 250213; 249151 Fax:+977-1-249057
Email: allen@unlimit.com

3. Requester’s Type: National Body Contribution

4. Submission Date: March 5, 1999

5. Requester’s Reference:

Short background on Committee for Standardization of Nepali on Computers

To ensure that the right decisions have been made for Nepal, a number of experts from within Nepal have been drawn upon, serving within committees as follows:

Standardisation Committee, to make sure that the standard fits the policies and practices of Nepal: representatives from Computer Association of Nepal, Kathmandu University, Ministry of Communication and Information, Ministry of Science and Technology, National Computer Centre, Nepal Bureau of Standards, Nepal Press Institute, Nepal Telecommunications Corporation, Press Council, Royal Nepal Academy of Science & Technology, Royal Nepal Academy, Tribhuvan University.

Language Committee, to make sure that the proposal was correct for the languages of Nepal: Bairagi Kainla, Kamal Mani Dixit, Krishna Chandra Singh Pradhan, Madav Pokhrel, Yogendra Yadava.

Technical Committee, to make sure that the proposal was technically feasible: Muni Shakya

The day to day development of the standard has been done by a working committee coordinated by Allen Bailochan Tuladhar with secretary Gaurab Raj Upadhaya and members Bhanu Pathak, Jeff Rollins, Kanak Mani Dixit, Patrick Hall, Peter Malling and Sunil Shrestha.


6a. Completion  No.

6b. More Information to be Provided? Yes


1a. New Script? Name? Yes. Nepalese.
1b. Addition of characters to existing block? Name? No.

2. Number of characters:  71

3. Proposed Category: Category A

4. Proposed level of implementation and rationale:  Nepalese requires Level 2 implementation.

5a. Character Names included in proposal? Yes.

5b. Character Names in accordance with guidelines? Yes.

5c. Character shapes reviewable? Yes (download White Paper).

6a. Who will provide computerized font? 

Committee for Standardization of Nepali in Computers Kathmandu Kingdom of Nepal

Contact information:

Allen Bailochan Tuladhar
Committee for Standardization of Nepali in Computers
PO Box 956 Kantipath 3rd Floor
Opposite Jyoti Bhawan
Ph: +977-1-249151; 249668; 250213
Fax: +977-1-249057
Email: allen@unlimit.com

6b. Font currently available? Yes.

6c. Font format? TrueType.

7a. Are references (to other character sets, dictionaries, descriptive text, etc.) provided?

Since this is a language that is currently widely in use within the country, there are a lot of web-sites in Nepal and abroad that use Nepali as means of communication. Please visit www.south-asia.com for newspapers in Nepal that use Nepali language to communicate.

7b. Are published examples (such as samples form newspapers, magazines, or other sources) of use of proposed characters attached?

Since the functioning of the government of Nepal, all of the Nepalese education system is in this language, this is very much in use.

8. Does the proposal address other aspects of character data processing?

Yes. Sorting, bridge table for the glyphs, keyboard mapping are all explained in the enclosed White Paper as Annex A.

C. Technical – Justification

  1. Has this proposal for additional of character(s) been submitted before? NO
  2. Has contact been made to member of the user community?
    Yes. The user community of Nepali within the country is 22.8 million and there is a equal size of Nepali speakers outside the country.
  3. Information on the user community for the proposed characters?

1. The languages and writing systems of Nepal

Nepal has a tradition of spoken languages and their writing that goes back thousands of years. These arose as part of the general development of civilizations and cultures in South Asia from the first millennium BC, then through many changes brought about by external invasion and influence, to the present day. It is easy to lose sight of Nepal’s distinctiveness when seen in relation to its giant neighbors India and China, the most populous countries of the world containing between them more than half the population of the earth. But Nepal does have a distinct identity.

Nepal itself has only 22 million people in 1998, but is very diverse with 70 languages or dialects (Toba 1992, Malla 1989b), many of them unwritten until recently, but some with writing that goes back more than a thousand years. Table 1 shows the more significant of these languages, dividing them into major language groups, showing the number of speakers from the 1981 census, and the percentage of the population. Many of the languages have only a few thousand speakers or less, with many of these small population languages being of the Tibeto-Burmese group. There are also a few speakers of the Austo-Asiatic language Satar, and of the Dravidian language Dhangar.

Table 1. The number of speakers of the major languages of Nepal (source National Research Associates, projection for 1996 from 1981 and 1991 censuses)

Total Population = 20,055,632

Tibet-Burmese Group of Languages



















Sherpa & Bhote









Indo-Aryan Group of Languages

Language Number %age
























Other languages




4. The context of use for the proposed character (s)

5. Are the proposed characters in current use by the user community?

Yes, the entire running of the country and the government is in Nepalese language.

  1. After giving due considerations to the principles in N1352 must the proposed characters be entirely in the BMP? Yes
  2. Should the proposed characters be kept together in contiguous range? Yes
  3. Can any of those proposed characters be considered a presentation form of an existing character or character sequences? No
  4. Can any of the proposed characters be considered to be similar to an existing character?
  5. Yes, with certain parts of Devanagari (ISO 10646 Table 17).

  6. Does the proposal included use of combining character and/or use of composite sequences?
  7. Yes see attached Annex A for White Paper.

  8. Does the proposal contain characters with any special properties such as control function or similar semantics? No
  9. .


For further information in Nepali Font Please download whitepap.zip and extract it. It is availlable in PDF format.

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