RE: Never say never

From: Andy White (
Date: Wed Feb 12 2003 - 18:47:52 EST

  • Next message: Andy White: "RE: Never say never"

    Michael Everson wrote:
    > At 02:27 +0000 2003-02-12, Andy White wrote:
    > >I said:
    > >? (I am talking about the letters mentioned in the Unicode Indic FAQ,
    > > >
    > >
    > >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
    > differently.

    Oriya Ba(Va), when subscript, is known as Ba-phalaa (bophola). When in
    this position it represents the original Va/Wa consonant.
    Since Ba-phalaa is a common glyph that can also follow consonants, using
    the above logic, you have reasoned that it should not have been included
    in the standard!

    > 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.

    Not really; KSSA does not include a vowel.

    > In the case of
    > Oriya, however, there were two issues. (Did you read my paper, N2525?)

    Yes, I read it yesterday, but as I am already very familiar with the
    history of this character, I only skim read it, sorry!

    > 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.

    This was not unusual at all but common practise. In both Bengali and
    Oriya the letter Va looked identical to Ba, It is a common theme in
    Indic scripts for letters that have become ambiguous to be marked by a

    > 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.

    No, letter Va was always there - just that it was hard to see at times
    due to the lack of a dot.
    One new method of signifying the sound Wa was born.

    I have put up some samples of the Bengali version of the letter Wa here:

    > >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.
    > >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 postfix 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.
    I never said it was, my point was that the Bengali block currently has
    no parallel letter to Chandra A.


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