Re: [indic] Re: Viramas

From: N. Ganesan (
Date: Thu Apr 20 2006 - 06:13:59 CST

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    On 4/18/06, Nagarjuna Venna <> wrote:
    > Here is a small analysis and a plausible solution for Telugu script.
    > Virama is basically used in two places in the current standard for Telugu:
    > 1. In a sequence of the form <C1, virama, C2> to generate conjuncts. The
    > only thing that the virama is doing here is to tell the renderer to generate
    > the vattu from of the consonant C2. Hence, I referred to it as an escape
    > character.
    > 2. In a sequence of the form <C1, virama, ZWNJ>, IMHO, this is a farce
    > because you have one escape character (ZWNJ) overriding the behavior of
    > another escape character.
    > If you consider a conjunct like 'rju' in arjuna, linguistic analysis would
    > probably tell you that this syllable is made of the sequence <Consonant RA,
    > virama, Consonant JA, Vowel U>. Analyzing Telugu script will tell you that
    > it is wirtten using the sequence <Consonant RA, Vattu JA, Vowel sign U>. As
    > you can see, the model in ISCII is a hybrid - <Consonant RA, virama,
    > Consonant JA, Vowel Sign U>.
    > A plausible solution for Telugu like scripts for the above two scenarios is:
    > 1. Encode conjuncts as in the written form <C1, V1>. In the general case,
    > <C1, V1, V2,.....VS1> where the V are vattulu and VS is the Vowel sign.
    > 2. Encode suppression of inherent vowel (pollu in Telugu) as <C1, virama>.
    > It is some times stated that the vattu form of RA, for example, is simply a
    > glyph of variation of consonat RA. I believe this claim is bogus because
    > vattulu are to consonants what vowel signs are to vowels - secondary forms
    > of the basic alphabet that are integral to the writing system. (If I were
    > encoding glyph variations of vattu form of RA, I would be encoding one code
    > point for the semi-circle glyph, one for the L shaped glyph that binds to
    > the left and one more for the mirror form that binds to the right.)
    > A scheme like this would work very well for Kannada and most likely
    > Malayalam too. Devanagari is a different story because Devanagari uses a
    > very different writing system.

    The ad hoc use of ZWJs in non-Devanagari scripts creates lot
    of confusion. In fact, cillus of Malayalam are not half-forms
    at all, and to use ZWJs on them, they are claimed so (eg., pr-37).

    It is possible that leaving the functionality of ZWJ to Devanagari,
    a C2-conjoining script joiner (let us call it VJ, vattu jr.) will help
    issues related to Telugu, Kannada, Oriya. It will help
    Malayalam too, and also (yet to be encoded) Tamil Grantha
    script used by Tamils to write Sanskrit. Perhaps parts
    of Burmese script issues. It may be useful to study
    Tibetan script consonat joiner mechanisms for a solution
    to C2-conjoining scripts of India - Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam,
    Tamil Grantha, Oriya as ultimately their origins go to
    Pallavan era.

    N. Ganesan

    > Thanks,
    > nagarjuna

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