RE: Virama after vowel in Indic

From: Andy White (
Date: Sat Mar 01 2003 - 13:05:47 EST

  • Next message: Andy White: "RE: Virama after vowel in Indic"

    Michael Everson wrote:

    > Anirban Mitra made some interesting points.
    > At 07:17 +0000 2003-03-01, Anirban Mitra wrote:
    > >It is difficult for non-indic thinking person to understand the
    > >absurdity of the concept of virama sitting after a vowel.
    > That might be true, based on what you learned about writing in
    > school. But the plain fact of the matter is that -- with regard to
    > ya-phalaa -- this is exactly what you do.

    No. No one has ever written a Virama after a vowel, never ever. You will
    not find it in any printed matter, except in the Indic FAQ, and in
    articles discussing the FAQ.

    *You will however find a Ya-phalaa after a vowel*.
    > >The virama is meant to strip a consonant of its inherent vowel "a".
    > >As a side effect of this it combines two consonants when it sits
    > >between then. It is not an exclusive combining mark so that it can
    > >combine a vowel (how can you strip a vowel of its inherent
    > >vowel?)and a consonsnt as unicode FAQ asks its to be.
    > It may not strip an inherent vowel, but it does attach itself to an
    > independent vowel.

    You are muddled here. Dr Mitra is talking about 'Virama'. You seem to be
    talking about Ya-phalaa.

    > >As per history of the letter A_YAPAHALAA_AA, there is no mention of
    > >this composite in original "Varna Parichay- Part 2" by Iswarchandra
    > >Vidyasagar, -unanimously considered by bengalies the original
    > >alphabet of modern Bengali. This was probably added later to
    > >tranliterrate words like Academic from English.
    > This is not correct. For example, in Sanskrit and Bengali, we have
    > the word pratyeka 'each, every'. This is derived from the Sanskrit
    > root prati (expressing likeness or comparison) plus eka 'one'. In
    > Sanskrit orthography i + e becomes ye and is so written. Now in
    > Bengali this word also exists and in both languages what is written
    > is PA + VIRAMA + RA + TA + VIRAMA + YA + E + KA.

    I must cut in here. I am concerned that you seem to think that Bengalis
    write 'pratyeka' as PA + VIRAMA + RA + TA + VIRAMA + YA + E + KA.
    It was not until the advent of ISCII and Unicode that anyone thought of
    japhalaa as being the same as VIRAMA + YA. Ask a Bengali teacher what
    the equivalent to 'Virama-Ya' is, and you will most likely get a blank
    or puzzled face.

    > In Bengali, however,
    > it is not pronounced [pratje:ka] as it is in Sanskrit; it is
    > pronounced [prottek]. Nevertheless, the orthographic syllable is tya,
    > and is so written. It is also the case that in initial syllables,
    > when this ya is used, the sound formed is [ę]; cf. byaakaran.a
    > 'grammar', pronounced [bękOron].
    > Although you may think it illogical, the fact of the matter is that
    > at some stage in Bengali written history, noticing that byaa was
    > pronounced [bę] encouraged an extension of this, so that by applying
    > it to an independent vowel an initial [ę] could be pronounced in
    > initial position. It is Bengalis who invented this practice, not us.
    > We just encoded it.

    This notion is wrong. Bengalis invented the placing of 'Yaphalaa' after
    'A' not 'virama'. And you are proposing to encode it in an semantically
    incorrect way.

    Viramas and vowels should mix in the Unicode encoding scheme. That is
    why we have Vowel Signs.
    E.g. The syllable 'KU' is a combination of 'Ka' and 'Full Vowel U'. It
    is encoded as 'Ka' + 'VowelSignU' is Unicode. It could also be said that
    'KU' can be encoded as 'Ka'+'Virama'+'Full_Vowel_U' - but that is in
    line with the Unicode Indic encoding scheme.

    (Incidentally that is also why the example in TUS3.0, Chapter 9, page
    214, Figure 9-3 ("Conjunct Formations"), example (4) is also wrong as
    previously discussed. That example 'conjunct' is correctly encoded as
    Ra+'VowelSignVocalicR' in Unicode and not as shown.

    > This kind of innovation is not really all that unusual in Brahmic
    > scripts. In the Cham script of Vietnam, for instance, vowel matras
    > can be applied to both consonants and independent vowels. In Khmer,
    > independent vowels can follow the coeng (virama) and be subscripted.
    > >It should not be coded as a_virama-aakaar as for reasons mentioned
    > >above.
    > Your argument does not convince, and does not take the historic fact
    > into account.
    > >Even ileap - the iscii word processor considered it to be a separate
    > >moderen vowel and placed it corrosponding to the chandra_a in
    > >Devanagari.
    > I am sure that Unicode and ISCII data can be exchanged with regard to
    > this matter.

    Not very easily, the exchange of data will require a 'four-character
    ahead lookup'


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