Re: Why wasn't it possible to encode a coeng-like joiner for Tibetan?

From: Christopher Fynn <>
Date: Thu, 11 Apr 2013 13:51:53 +0600

On 11/04/2013, Shriramana Sharma <> wrote:

> On Thu, Apr 11, 2013 at 9:54 AM, Christopher Fynn <>
> wrote:
>> In Unicode v1 Tibetan was encoded on the Indic model - but in practice
>> there were problems found with this and Tibetan was removed and later
>> re-encoded.
> I'd like to know what exact "problems". Often I hear "there are
> problems" in relation to various encoding models adopted for specific
> scripts, but no such problem is presented for examination.

I'm not sure - it was between Unicode v1 and v2.
Tibetan was dropped by v2 and then encoded again much later
You'd have to go back to the WG2 and UTC documents of the time to find
out the reasons.

I guest it *may* have been due to objections by China ~ but I'm not
really sure.

>>> But even for Devanagari, if it were not for
>>> Sanskrit, a visible virama is almost never used for Hindi, the
>>> prevalent language, and it is only that Devanagari is also heavily
>>> used for Sanskrit and the thing about maintaining uniformity with
>>> other Indic scripts that the visible function and the joining function
>>> were united in a single character.
>> But afaik in Hindi etc. it is legal to use a visible virama instead of
>> joining letters. In Tibetan this is not so (except when writing
>> Sanskrit)
> I'm not sure what you mean by it being "legal" to use a visible
> virama. If सुरक्षा (surakṣaa = protection) were written सुरक् षा
> (ignore the space in between) any Hindi reader would say "hey who
> wrote like this". It would be comprehensible, but it would not be
> considered accepted orthography. I am not sure how the Tibetan
> situation would be different and how it would be "illegal" (and what
> exactly "illegal" would mean).

Wrong word - "acceptable" would have been better.

I've read that at one time Devanagri was often written more like
Tibetan (many complex conjuncts stacked vertically) - and have seen
manuscript examples of this. With the advent of metal type printing
this was impractical and a simpler orthography evolved and people are
used to that now.

>> You can look on the Tibetan encoding as a compromise between the two
>> ideas - but it works well and there is no ambiguity.
> OK so it's a compromise to satisfy everyone all around? So that means
> its validity as a precedent for other perhaps less-controversial
> scripts diminishes.

I'm not saying that it is a compromise - but you could look upon it that way.

Actually it is a very workable encoding model and font lookups and
rendering engine complexity seem much less than with the ISCIII
derived Indic model.

- Chris
Received on Thu Apr 11 2013 - 02:53:43 CDT

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