RE: Indic scripts, visual-order vs phonetic-order

From: Maurice Bauhahn (
Date: Thu Jun 06 2002 - 01:45:15 EDT

When we looked into this at the Cambodian Ministry of Education, Youth and
Sport, it was decided that Khmer handwriting order should {largely} follow
phonetic order. Of course typewriters had to follow visual-order. Most
computer implementations previously were not able to handle phonetic order
so also were in visual order.

The mention above of 'largely' is a subsequent discovery that ROBAT (an
analog to indic REPHA) in handwriting is written in visual order (it is a
superscript which phonetically is an initial RO).

Possibly this relatively recent habit of using visual order has begun to
affect the handwriting many Khmers now write in visual order as

In Khmer one of the problems visual order brings up for computer
implementations is the large variety of character orders this could involve.
There are two-glyph vowels with pre and post consonant placement, one-glyph
vowels which preceed, and one-glyph vowels which follow (super or sub or
post). Failure to lock those into a standard order would result in quite a
bit of preprocessing for sorting, not to mention the problems of
searchin/spell checking.


-----Original Message-----
From: []On
Behalf Of Samphan Raruenrom
Sent: 05 June 2002 15:16
To: Unicode Public List
Subject: Indic scripts, visual-order vs phonetic-order


I'm wondering about the practice of using visual-order vs phonetic-order
in Indic writing on typewriter vs computer vs handwritten. Are they
all the same?

I also heard that there are two input-method styles for Indic,
visual-order and phonetic-order. Is it true? And what is more popular?

Samphan Raruenrom
Information Research and Development Division,
National Electronics and Computer Technology Center, Thailand.

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