From: Michael Everson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed Feb 12 2003 - 15:45:10 EST
At 02:27 +0000 2003-02-12, Andy White wrote:
>? (I am talking about the letters mentioned in the Unicode Indic FAQ,
> > http://www.unicode.org/faq/indic.html#13)
>Just to be clear, I mean the letters called 'Vowel_A_zophola_AA' &
>'Vowel_E_zophola_AA' as mentioned in the above mentioned FAQ.
These are A-VIRAMA-YA-AA and E-VIRAMA-Y-AA, which are sequences of an
independent vowel plus a subjoined consonant plus a dependent vowel.
Those sequences are used to represent foreign sounds in Bengali.
Since the ya-phalaa is a common glyph that can also follow consonants
it makes sense not to treat the use of it with independent vowels
Yes, Oriya O-VIRAMA-BA could be considered structurally similar, and
it could even be said that Devanagari K-VIRAMA-SSA which is thought
of as a letter in Marathi could considered similar. In the case of
Oriya, however, there were two issues. (Did you read my paper, N2525?)
The original consonant [va] was lost in Oriya, merging with [ba].
Later, a need to represent the foreign sound [va] and the foreign
sound [wa] was perceived. Taylor 1883 showed a shape for this [va]
which is rather unusual, but in any case what came to be used was a
BA with a dot in or above its head. To represent [wa] the consonant
BA was, unusually subscripted to the initial vowel O.
Two new, rare, foreign consonants were born. We chose to encode them.
Why are the YA-PHALAA characters different? The use of VIRAMA + YA +
VOWEL SIGN is productive in Bengali. Initial consonant plus -ya is
pronounced as the consonant which when followed by -aa is pronounced
[æ]. This -yaa can be added to consonants and to initial vowels. It
is also a spacing stand-alone glyph which doesn't interact with the
letters it follows. Its application to initial vowels is reported to
In Oriya, however, [ba] is a stop, and when subscripted interacts
with its consonant glyphically. Application of subscript consonants
to initial vowels is not otherwise practiced in Oriya. OBA = WA is
not really a normal conjunct and there is a pretty wide range of
glyph variations. Plus because the use of the letter WA is rare, it
seemed best to treat it as a single letter representing a single
>I must add here that Bengali also has a combination used to transcribe
>Wa. It is LETTER O + YYA_PHALAA.
Prove it, please. Bagchi suggests as much in Daniels & Bright but the
description is ambiguous.
>An example is the Devanagri Letter Vocalic R with Superscript Letter
>Ra (aka Vowel Ru with Reph). Despite many discussions, no one has
>been able to come to any agreement as to how to encode it. Is this a
>candidate? If not; how to encode it?
Repha-ri: RA + VIRAMA + LETTER VOCALIC R
>Another is 'Bengali Letter Central A' used to transcribe English 'a'
>as in ball. (Comparable to Devanagri Chandra A). It is visibly a
>Bengali letter A with posfixed letter Ya (Bengali Letter A with
>Ya-phalaa). I think that this letter, among with a few others not
>mentioned, should be included for compatibility with the Devanagri
>code block. But what do you think?
I don't see how Bengali is incompatible with Devanagari.
-- Michael Everson * * Everson Typography * * http://www.evertype.com
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