Proposal for the encoding of Brahmi

Andrew Glass asg at U.WASHINGTON.EDU
Sat Jul 26 09:34:05 UTC 2003

Dear list,

a proposal for the computer encoding of Brahmi is now available at

This document has been written in consultation with various
specialist in varieties of the Brahmi script family, and it has
been presented at the World Sanskrit Conference in Helsinki.  It
will ultimately (before the end of the year, we hope) be submitted
to the Unicode Consortium for official inclusion in the world-wide
standard for the computer encoding of writing systems.

Before we go ahead submitting it, however, we would like to
encourage you to have a look and make sure that it is adequate for
the variants of Brahmi that you deal with in your work.  Please
keep in mind that the particular shape of letters is not a matter
of the proposed encoding, but will be handled at the font level.
But if there are any signs in your varieties of Brahmi that you
feel are genuine separate characters, and that are not yet covered
by the proposal, then please do let us know.

We are also still looking for images that we can use to illustrate
long and short vocalic l as initial and matra, and long vocalic r
as initial only.  If you happen to have suitable illustrations
from a pre-modern Brahmi source (i.e., not in Devanagari or any of
the other modern scripts), then we would be most happy to use
them.  (Such sources would probably be of the abecedary type
rather than real texts; the Turfan manuscripts include many such
abecedaries, and that's what we ourselves will look into next.)

Finally, feedback would be particularly appreciated on the
punctuation part of the proposal.  While we should be very
conservative at this point about multiplying proposed punctuation
characters (as opposed to mere graphical shapes that manuscripts
use to delimit text), we do feel that some genuine punctuation
signs are probably still missing (like, for instance, the
abbreviation sign).  If you would like to suggest the encoding of
additional punctuation marks, then please let us know and provide
an illustration and/or a reference to a published illustration of
the sign in question.

Stefan Baums
Andrew Glass

Stefan Baums
Asian Languages and Literature
University of Washington

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