Representative glyphs for combining kannada signs

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Tue Mar 14 2006 - 18:07:12 CST

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    This is an editorial remark only concerning the representative glyphs for the combining signs in the Kannada script. The Unicode charts display some of these signs as if they combined above the base letter, positioning the dotted circle centered below these diacritics.

    However, in Kannara, they do not display as separate glyphs above the base letter, but they attach to the upper-right corner of the base letter, sometimes modifying the glyph of the base letter slightly to form a ligature.

    So the "representative glyphs" of the following dependant vowel signs are not very significant: the dotted circle below them should be decentered to the left, the glyph for the sign being shown attached to its upper right corner:

    U+0CC0 KANNADA VOWEL SIGN II (= U+0CBF above right, U+0CD5 on right)

    U+0CC7 KANNADA VOWEL SIGN EE (= U+0CC6 above right, U+0CD5 on right)
    U+0CCA KANNADA VOWEL SIGN O (= U+0CC6 above right, U+0CC2 on right)
    U+0CCB KANNADA VOWEL SIGN OO (= U+0CC6 above right, U+0CC2 U+0CD5 on right)


    U+0CCD KANNADA SIGN VIRAMA (or halant)

    Note that the representative glyph of the virama/halant sign uses an exagerated horizontal stroke all above the dotted circle. Keeping only the little 6-shaped curl attached on the right should be enough.


    The simplest presentation of those combining signs comes when associated with the Kannara letter LA (U+OCB2) which looks like an 'o' open above (the tiny "artistic" closed inner loop attached at end of its left branch is optional, not always drawn in handwritten text or for clarity at small font sizes, or sometimes entirely black like a bold dot starting this left branch, so the letter sometimes looks like a latin 'u'), because the glyph attachments are reduced to the minimum without changing much of its shape ifused as the base letterof all diacritics.

    But these considerations remain valid for other base consonnant letters, even if the ligature is more "destructive" for their base shape...


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