Re: Devanagari and half-consonant forms

From: Mark Leisher (
Date: Tue Nov 23 1999 - 13:40:49 EST

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


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


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

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

You are right that these are just 2 ways to select the shaping you want.

The confusion is the view that *all* half-consonant formation *requires* the
ZWJ. In general, when constructing an akshara (consonant+consonant+...+vowel
group) with more than one consonant, the half-consonants form automatically
from dead consonants *without* the need for ZWJ, as long as the renderer does
not combine them to form a conjunct or ligature.

The need for ZWJ is then limited to stopping conjunct and ligature formation,
or rendering an explicit half-consonant by itself.

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

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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