Re: unicode and malayalam

From: Jeroen Hellingman (
Date: Sat Dec 04 1999 - 17:54:58 EST

>hello all,
>i have some confusion regarding the ZWJ ZWNJ and their use wrt malayalam.
>1. as far as i know half consonents are absent in malayalam. so what is
>the effect of a ZWJ in between two consonents. insted of the half forms we
>normally use the virama between two consonents that do not have a seperate
>glyph, and this can be done by using the ZWNJ

Nothing is defined in the Unicode standard about this. However, Malayalam
has two
ways of representing a consonant not followed by a vowel, that is, the
ordinary way,
with virama (a small "breve" on the right above the letter), and the "cillu
letters" with
a prolonged up-curl which only occurs with five consonants: na, ra, rra, ta,
la. (in older works
also with ka). I would suggest using the half consonant syntax of Devanagari
those cillu letters, especially, because they can also appear as the first
part of a stacked

This issue surely needs to be clarified in the Malayalam section of the
Unicode standard.

>2. In malayalam their can be two equally valid ways of representing the
>glyphs of some consonent conbination. like CA+CA. is their any way of
>identifying the exact glyph form.

No. You might use ca+virama+ca for the stacked variant, and
ca+virama+ZWNJ+ca for
the explicit viram variant, but the double first curl ca+ca variant cannot
be indicate within
Unicode, as it is considered a glyph variant. I proposal for this might be
made, but I do
not consider it that important.

Jeroen Hellingman

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