Re: Devanagari

From: John Cowan (
Date: Wed Nov 04 1998 - 12:08:21 EST

Thomas Mack wrote:

> In the codes from U+0900 to U+0970 I found all the devanagari letters.
> Unfortunately, I did not find the ligatures(? = compound letters) for
> this script. So maybe approximately 60 compound letters are missing -
> and therefore make Unicode in regard to Devanagari pretty useless (do
> you know ANY devanagari text not using compound letters?).

Unicode tracks the ISCII model (in fact, for Indic codes it is
essentially 9 copies of ISCII-83), in which ligatures are not
represented internally as characters, but are chosen from a glyph
file on the fly when rendering. This keeps data internally
consistent (no ligatures).

The basic approach is to use VIRAMA after any letter that is to be
ligatured to its successor, so VIRAMA does not necessarily render
as a (script-specific) stroke, but rather conveys the *function*
of suppressing the inherent vowel.

Anyhow, which letters are ligatured is language-specific as much
as script-specific (Skt uses many ligatures which are avoided in
modern standard Hindi).

More details are available in the Unicode Standard book at pages 6-33 to
6-44. The Unicode Standard is much more than just the tables!

John Cowan
	You tollerday donsk?  N.  You tolkatiff scowegian?  Nn.
	You spigotty anglease?  Nnn.  You phonio saxo?  Nnnn.
		Clear all so!  'Tis a Jute.... (Finnegans Wake 16.5)

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