Re: Eyelash Ra/Variant Mark?

From: Jeroen Hellingman (
Date: Wed May 27 1998 - 04:57:57 EDT

Regarding the Marathi eyelash ra
> Ive read the Unicode document at pages mentioned in the msg. below.
> On Tue, 26 May 1998, James E. Agenbroad wrote:
> > Could a variant mark (cf. recent minutes) be used to invoke the eyelash RA
> > and thus resolve the current 'double duty' usage of ZWJ in Unicode 2.0: 1.
> > at figure 6-15 (page 6-37) for independent half forms, and, 2. at R5 (page
> > 6-39) for the eyelash-RA? This is not a stylistic/glyph variation, it
> > depends on grammar and pronounciation, neither of which are a focus
> > of Unicode.

I think there is no problem in the current Unicode standard with regard
to Marathi eyelash ra. The eyelash ra can be considered the half form
of the letter ra -- although it is only used in Marathi, and languages
like Hindi use the other contextual forms of ra, i.e. reph and the
subscribed stroke, for preceding and following ra respectively.
These should be the default when no ZWJ is present. From my point of
view there is no case of 'double duty' here.

> The eyelash Ra should be formed by U0931 (RRA) + U94D (halant) when it is
> followed by any consonant or a Invisible consonant INV (named ZWJ in
> Unicode). You can view this implementation widely used for Marathi in
> India, by downloading LEAP-Lite from CDAC's Web site and typing it out
> by shift-J, d, / using the Inscript keyboard layout with Caps-Lock on.

The INV character of ISCII should not be confused with ZWJ in Unicode.
They have different semantics.

> The character U0931 is used for this eyelash Ra in marathi apart from
> being the hard RA consonant in Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu. This is also
> described in the ISCII document. So the reference R5 on page 6-39 of
> Unicode 2.0 needs to be corrected to read RRA-halant instead of Ra-halant.
> Once this is done, the double duty in the role of ZWJ with respect to Ra
> halant will get resolved. Once you do this you treat the eyelash-RA as
> the half form of the consonant RRA and this becomes consistent with
> half forms of other consonants too.

I think the choice in ISCII to re-use the Dravidian RRA for Marathi
eyelash ra is unlucky, especially when you want to display characters
in another script. I don't want to see Tamil RRA show up as Marathi
eyelash RA, when viewing Tamil in Devanagari. The current choice in
Unicode has my preference.


Jeroen Hellingman

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