Re: Eyelash Ra/Variant Mark?

From: Anupam Saurabh (
Date: Wed May 27 1998 - 11:13:25 EDT

On Wed, 27 May 1998, Jeroen Hellingman wrote:
> 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.

I do not wish to argue here regd. correctness of current Unicode standard
with respect to Indian languages.

However, going by the basic alphabet, half form of the letter ra is the
reph by default for both Hindi and Marathi and cannot be treated as
eyelash-RA. Your reference to it being contextual form for Hindi etc. is
applicable to the display fonts perhaps but not to data representation.
Also, halant-ra form (called rakar) gets applied graphically to the
preceding consonant.

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

The INV is used to simulate a joining and display of resultant glyph with an
invisible consonant. ZWJ as described on page 6-71 of Unicode 2.0 is used
to alter the behavior of rendering process as if it had been joined with
either preceding or following character, or both. It also mentions
the function of ZWJ for Indian languages, and the explanation is
identical to that of INV in ISCII. Apart from difference in the
language of explanation, I do not find any other difference. Please let
me know if Iam making a mistake.

> 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.

With Unicode, the transliteration feature available via the rendition
engine for ISCII, is not available automatically. Hence the question of
Tamil RRA appearing as Marathi eyelash Ra does not arise while using
Unicode with different code spaces for the two scripts. In ISCII, the
transliteration mapping between dravidian scripts and northern scripts is
not claimed to be 100% accurate, but for most practical purposes where
information consists of proper nouns (names and addresses in databases)
the transliteration feature provides a software independent mechanism to
display or print things like reservation charts etc. with reasonable success.
It also helps in avoiding duplication of databases in each language for
large multilingual IT applications.



Anupam Saurabh Email:
Group Co-ordinator GIST R&D, C-DAC Phone: +91-212-370034, 352461
Centre for Development of Advanced Computing URL :
Pune University Campus, Pune-411007, India Fax : +91-212-357551
* Download Free LEAP-Lite from our Web Site or sendmail to

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Tue Jul 10 2001 - 17:20:40 EDT