Re: String name and Character Name (Tibetan U+0FD0)

From: Andrew C. West (
Date: Thu Apr 14 2005 - 06:26:00 CST

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    On Wed, 13 Apr 2005 16:53:23 -0400, Patrick Andries wrote:
    > Is the Unicode 4.1 character name for 0FD0 correct ?

    Yes ... at least mostly correct.

    > 0FD0 is named TIBETAN MARK BSKA- SHOG GI MGO RGYAN in Unicode 4.1.
    > But see, which mentions
    > elsewhere "bka’ shog gi mgo rgyan" (this must be a transliteration, see
    > below for the pronunciation) as does
    >, page 4. No "s" in the
    > syllable.

    This issue was discussed briefly in January of last year if you search the
    mailing list archives under the subject "Bhutanese marks".

    As I understand it, and no doubt Chris can correct me if I've got anything
    wrong, there are three signs used in Bhutan in formal documents to indicate the
    relative status of the addresser and the addressee (superior to inferior,
    inferior to superior, and equal to equal).

    The character encoded at U+0F0A (introduced in Unicode 2.0) is meant to
    represent the sign that indicates an inferior adressing a superior (the
    "petition honorific"), and in the code charts has the correct glyph for this
    usage, but is unfortunately misnamed "BKA- SHOG YIG MGO" which is a name for the
    sign used for a superior addressing an inferior ("starting flourish for giving a
    command"). The correct name for this character should have been "ZHU YIG GI MGO
    RGYAN" ("starting flourish for making a petition").

    Now in 4.1 a new character, U+0FD0, was introduced that is meant to represent
    the sign that actually indicates a superior addressing an inferior. However, as
    the name for this sign had already been incorrectly applied to U+0F0A, this name
    could not be used for the Unicode name of the new character, and so a slightly
    different but synonymous name was used instead.

    > Compare to 0F0A TIBETAN MARK BKA- SHOG YIG MGO also used in Bhutan. Note the
    > absence of an "s" in the first syllable.
    > An additional hint of a potential problem is given by the pronunciation of
    > two characters : 0F0A (BKA-) is apparently pronounced "ka sho
    > yik go" while 0FD0 (BSKA-) is pronounced "ka sho gi go gyen", both "ka". I
    > understand that, given the amount of Tibetan silent letters, two
    > different syllables could be pronounced the same way. Just checking.

    As to the "S" in the syllable "BSKA-" in the name of U+0FD0 "TIBETAN MARK BSKA-
    SHOG GI MGO RGYAN", I pointed out last year that I thought it ought to be
    spelled "BKA-". Looking at the two Dzongkha text examples given in N2694, both
    of them spell the name of this sign as "BKA-" rather than "BSKA-". I don't have
    a Tibetan dictionary to hand, but it may well be that "BSKA-" is an alternate
    spelling for "BKA-", but given that both sources cited in N2694 use "BKA-" I
    would have though that "BKA-" would have been the more appropriate spelling.


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