Re: Devanagari and half-consonant forms

From: Chookij Vanatham (
Date: Tue Nov 23 1999 - 13:16:20 EST

As I understand about ZWJ for Devanagari, ZWJ will be used when we don't want
the ligature happending between the dead consonant and the live consonant.
The dead consonant is the live consonant with VIRAMA. So, ZWJ will be following

I'm not too sure if I can guess some confusion but here is what I think.
The dead consonant happends when the live consonant is applied with VIRAMA.
If this dead consonant is followed by the live consonant, then the ligature
between this dead consonat and the live consonant will happend.

If the dead consonant is applied with ZWJ and following by the live consonant,
the dead consonant will be changed to "Half consonant" and connected to
the live consonant.

To me, they are just 2 ways to select which shaping you want.

So, ZWJ should be used with the dead consonant, otherwise there shouldn't be
any shapes changed between 2 live consonant regardless of ZWJ is in between or

I hope I won't make any more confusion, though.

Chookij V.

] Date: Mon, 22 Nov 1999 12:30:37 -0800 (PST)
] From: Mark Leisher <>
] Subject: Devanagari and half-consonant forms
] To: Unicode List <>
] Cc:,
] MIME-version: 1.0
] Content-transfer-encoding: 7bit
] I recently became aware of some confusion about the role of the Unicode ZWJ
] (Zero-Width Joiner) in Devanagari consonant glyph formation.
] The short answer is that ZWJ is really only necessary to prevent two
] consonants from forming *a conjunct or a ligature*. ZWJ is not necessary
] otherwise, because the process of "killing" the vowel causes the normal
] formation of the half-consonant in the expected places.
] Attached are two small images that show how the ZWJ is used to inhibit
] sub-joined conjunct formation.
] -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
] Mark Leisher
] Computing Research Lab I have never made but one prayer to God,
] New Mexico State University a very short one:
] Box 30001, Dept. 3CRL "Oh Lord, make my enemies ridiculous."
] Las Cruces, NM 88003 And God granted it. -- Voltaire, letter

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