Re: Query for Validity of Thai Sequence - Some Points of Information

From: Richard Wordingham (
Date: Fri Feb 16 2007 - 16:22:10 CST

  • Next message: Richard Wordingham: "Re: Query for Validity of Thai Sequence"

    1. John Hudson wrote on Friday, February 16, 2007 4:48 PM
    Subject: Re: Query for Validity of Thai Sequence

    > In the case of Thai, thanthakhat belongs to a class of characters that can
    > be applied to a vowel. To say that it can be applied to some vowels but
    > not to others is a linguistic and orthographic rule pertaining to the
    > writing of a particular language, not a rule of the script.

    That's an interesting way of describing thanthakhat. I was about to say it
    was wrong, for it always silences at least one consonant. Thai and Khmer
    have the interesting rule that a final short vowel in words of Indic origin
    may be silent. Now thanthakhat may be used to silence the consonant with
    this final short vowel, and it often silences preceding consonants as well.
    In Thai there is a rule (not always observed) that in words of Indic origin,
    it may only silence the consonant if it has a following short vowel. Now,
    modern Thai has quite a few words of Indic origin in which the <RO RUA> in
    the sequence <RO RUA, TO TAO> is silent, but because there was no vowel
    between the consonants in Sanskrit, the thanthakhat is not used. This is in
    marked contrast to loans from English, where no such restriction applies,
    and <RO RUA, THANTHAKHAT> between a vowel and a consonant is one of the
    indicators of an English loan.

    The presence of thanthakhat is almost predictable in Indic loans in Thai -
    it occurs if the final syllable ends in a short vowel preceded by <HO HIP>
    or a cluster of two distinct consonants not ending in <RO RUA>, for these
    are become unpronounceable when the final short vowel is dropped.

    However, sometimes the final short vowel is pronounced and there is no
    thanthakhat, and the Sanskritisation of Pali loans distorts the pattern.

    Now the three short vowels, when silent, are written with no symbol, <SARA
    I>, or <SARA U>, whence one may deduce the rule that in Thai, THANTHAKHAT is
    preceded by a consonant, <SARA I> or <SARA U>. I'm not sure if this rule
    also applies to Khmer, but it certainly the overwhelming pattern in Khmer.

    2. Lokesh Joshi wrote on Friday, February 16, 2007 7:28 PM

    > Other posters on the Unicode list thread point out, however, that the
    > strict
    > checking of WTT 2.0 makes it impossible to write Pali and Sanskrit using
    > the Thai script.

    No. WTT 2.0 allows Pali and Sanskrit. It was a stricter set once
    implemented by Microsoft that caused the problem.


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