Re: Dependent vowels

From: Kamal Mansour (
Date: Fri Oct 30 1998 - 13:08:42 EST

On Fri, 30 Oct 1998, Mark Leisher wrote:

> Someone was asking me recently why they should use the Unicode
Indic dependent
> vowels internally. I don't see any reason to use them because
they make
> akshara construction and searching more complicated. They are
only useful for
> rendering.
> I was wondering if anyone here actually uses them and why?

Although dependent and independent vowels represent the same
vowel sounds, they play rather different morphemic roles. As the
name implies, independent vowels can stand alone as
self-sufficient syllables, while dependent vowels serve as the
second half of a syllable (akshara). If both the dependent and
independent forms of a particular vowel were marked by a sole
symbol in all cases, you would need to do rather complex
linguistic analysis to determine which form to render. As an
analogy, consider the simpler case of German convention for use
of upper case. If you do not distinguish alphabetic case in the
underlying representation, you will need to analyse each
sentence to determine when to use either case. And, of course,
in many cases there will be no unambiguously correct answer.
Searching for both 'a' and 'A' in a string is a bit more costly
than searching for only one of them, but it's a small price to
pay for simplicity's sake.

Kamal Mansour
Monotype Typography Inc.
Palo Alto, CA 94306 USA

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Tue Jul 10 2001 - 17:20:42 EDT