RE: Indic Vowel/Consonant combinations

From: Marco Cimarosti (
Date: Thu Feb 13 2003 - 10:47:52 EST

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    Andy White wrote:
    > I think that Jim Agenbroad seems to have neatly come up with the
    > solution, and if no one disagrees, this needs to be documented in TUCS
    > or at least the Indic FAQ.

    The Unicode Standard disagrees. TUS3.0, Chapter 9, page 214, Figure 9-3
    ("Conjunct Formations"), example (4) says that it should be encoded as
    <U+0930 U+094D U+090B>:

            "RAd + RIn -> RIn + RAsup"

    That's absolutely intentional, as explained in the following paragraph:

            "A number of types of conjunct formations appear in these examples:
    [...] and (4) a rare conjunct formed with an independent vowel letter, in
    this case the vowel letter RI (also known as vocalic r). Note that in
    example (4) in Figure 9-3, the dead consonant RAd is depicted with the
    nonspacing combining mark RAsup (repha)."

    > He said that Devanagri Letter Vocalic R with Superscript Letter Ra
    > (Vowel R with reph) should be encoded as "Ra + Vowelsign Vocaliic R"
    > (u+0930, u+0943)

    Sequence <U+0930 U+0943> has indeed the same meaning (i.e. pronunciation) as
    the sequence above, but it has a different visual representation. See it in
    TUS3.0, Chapter 9, page 222, Table 9-2 ("Sample Ligatures (Continued)"),
    right-hand column, 4th row from bottom.

    In this ligature, both U+0930 and U+0943 have their normal glyphs, but the
    matra is joined in a unusual location (on the middle of the right side of
    the letter, rather than below it)-

    This visual representation actually exists (I have seen it often on Sanskrit
    grammars), and is much more common that <independentRI + repha>.

    > The answer to my original question "How then would you encode a visual
    > U+0930, U+094D, U+090B" wil then be: "U+0930, U+094D, U+090B
    > of course!"

    That would be <U+0930 U+094D U+200C U+090B>, of course!! When you want to
    force a visible virama, you insert a ZWNJ; why cluttering this simple rule
    with meaningless exceptions?

    _ Marco

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