Re: Unicode for Malayalam Language.

From: Jeroen Hellingman (
Date: Mon Oct 27 1997 - 04:47:05 EST

> Since these 'cillu' letters are used with quite high frequency
> a three character combination for them may be clumsy.
> Then, another option other than considering them as seperate
> characters would be using <character><zwj> to produce them.
> (Here, I have omitted <virama>. But I am not quite sure for what
> the <zwj> stands for. Anyway I assume it is just a new symbol.)
> But this forces us to invent a new symbol in the Malayalam language or
> a character with no glyph assosiated with it.

<zwj> stands for ZERO-WIDTH JOINER, which is a character already
defined in Unicode, and used to obtain rendering variants in various
scripts, including Arabic and Devanagari. the use I proposed was in
parallel (as far as you can say) with that in Devanagari---of course
there are no cillu letters in Devanagari, but you do have half letters.

> > (found some more occurances of this in traditional script: .l+k, .l+kk.)
> Could you give me more reference/explanation on this ?

.l is cillu LL, .l+k is my notation for cillu LL with KA subscribed.

> Even though Gundert is the oldest one, 'Sabdathaaravali' by
> Sreekandeswaram is considered to be the comprehensive one.
> Unfortunately, it is a Malayalam-Malayalam dictionary.
> Some word which use VOCALIC RR,VOCALIC L, and VOCALIC LL are
> available in it. As an example: '<VOCALIC LL>tham' means spider.
> But for practical purposes these vowels and their signs are
> never used.

The signs are used. I found an example in Gundert,
using kRR, kL... only the sign for LL I haven't
been able to find yet. Also, Gundert is not the oldest Malayalam dictionary,
some have already been prepared by the Portuguese in the 16th century.
(see Gundert for references) Thanks for the reference on Sabdathaaravali.
is it available?


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