Oriya WA

From: Michael Everson (everson@evertype.com)
Date: Wed Feb 12 2003 - 20:14:34 EST

  • Next message: Andy White: "RE: Indic Vowel/Consonant combinations"

    At 23:47 +0000 2003-02-12, Andy White wrote:
    >Michael Everson wrote:
    > > 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!

    Not so. While in Bengali it is common practice to attach ya-phalaa to
    both consonants and independent vowels, in Oriya it is only common
    practice to attach ba-phalaa to consonants. Only in the rare case of
    WA was it attached (by whomever invented the glyph) to an independent
    vowel. A book I have on Oriya shows KA + VIRAMA + BA yielding <kwa>,
    JA + VIRAMA + BA yielding <jva>, DHA + VIRAMA + BA yielding <dhwa>,
    MA + VIRAMA + BA yielding <mba>, and RA + VIRAMA + BA yielding <rba>
    (with repha), and SHA + VIRAMA + BA yielding <shba>. In each of these
    a consonant cluster is formed where the vowel of the first consonant
    is killed and the second consonant takes one of three different
    sounds. Since WA is a consonant on its own, and since it is unusually
    attached to an independent vowel, it did not seem sensible to encode
    O + VIRAMA + BA which ought to yield <oba>, <owa>, or <ova>. The
    vowel killed is normally -a, and O doesn't contain one.

    Ken Whistler pointed out that Oriya independent AA could have been
    decomposed to independent A + vowel sign A. We didn't do that, and WA
    is quite similar.

    > > 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.

    Neither does OBA. It's [wa] not [owa].

    > > 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!

    You missed something, perhaps. But do you know when and/or by whom
    the characters were introduced? Or are you just analyzing the glyph?

    > > 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.

    I said that Taylor 1883 gives an unusual shape, which is not BA with dot.

    >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 dot.

    Taylor 1883 is different.

    > > 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.

    It seems to me that historical VA was lost having merged with BA, and
    something new had to be introduced.

    > > >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.

    BENGALI LETTER A + VIRAMA + BENGALI LETTER YA represents this, and
    this can be mapped in transliteration to CANDRA A if necessary.

    Michael Everson * * Everson Typography *  * http://www.evertype.com

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