RE: List of ligatures for languages of the Indian subcontinent.

From: Marco Cimarosti (
Date: Tue Mar 18 2003 - 08:01:35 EST

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    Kenneth Whistler wrote:
    > Dream on. The information needed exists in books and other
    > reference source in libraries, book shops, and other collections
    > across India -- and, for that matter, around the world. It is
    > "merely" a matter of collecting the relevant information and
    > distilling it into succinct, yet complete, statements of the
    > relevant information needed for proper typographic practice
    > for each script, for each style of each script, for each local
    > typographic tradition for each style, and so on.

    A couple of hints for William and other people interested in this issue:

    - Akira Nakanishi, "Writing Systems of the World -- Alphabets,
    Syllabaries, Pictograms", Tuttle 1980(1999), ISBN 0804816549.
            This is charming little book explores all the scripts used in the
    world today, giving for each one of them a table of all the signs (apart
    Chinese, of course) and an explanation of how the script works. For each
    script, it also reproduces a page from a daily newspaper written in that
    scripts. The information is not always 100% accurate, however the book
    remains an invaluable introduction to the scripts of the world, and a
    perfect complement to the reading of the Unicode Standard.

    - The grammars in the "National Integration Series" by Balaji
    Publications, Madras, India.
            Each grammar in this series is a small A5-format book bearing a
    title like: "Learn <language name> in 30 Days through English". The grammars
    are not very valid by the linguistic point of view (it's unlikely that the
    reader will actually learn an Indian language in one month!), but they all
    have a very interesting introduction to the script used by each language,
    which also normally includes a table of all the combinations of
    consonant+vowel, and a table of the essential consonant clusters, and of
    half or subjoined consonants. If you compare the grammars of languages
    sharing the same script (such as Sanskrit, Hindi, and Marathi, all written
    with the Devanagari script), you can verify how the list of required
    "ligatures" varies from a language to another. Notice that also these books
    are far from being 100% accurate.

    All the above books have low price and are easily found in bookshops in the
    UK and elsewhere.

    Another good source for making a lists of required glyphs are the existing
    non-Unicode fonts for Indic languages. The nicest free collection I have
    seen so far is the Akruti GNU TrueType fonts, which contains a set of glyphs
    appropriate for most modern usages:


    _ Marco

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