Dean Anderson dean_anderson at SACARI.ORG
Fri Nov 12 03:56:17 UTC 2004

I will contact you off-list and we can try to work out a truly free and,
hopefully, widely acceptable solution based either on my older font or on
other ones that I'm aware of.

Dean Anderson

>-----Original Message-----
>From: Indology [mailto:INDOLOGY at] On Behalf Of 
>Stefan Baums
>Sent: Thursday, November 11, 2004 9:13 PM
>Subject: Re: Devanagari
>Dear Dean,
>the Unicode text only specifies the basic letters.  The number 
>of conjuncts used in displaying the text is entirely up to the 
>font. The first word, कुरुक्षेत्रे, for example, is encoded as:
>   KA + U + RA + U + KA + VIRAMA + SHA + E + TA + VIRAMA + RA + E
>The computer then looks at that encoding, recognises the 
>conjuncts, and if it has a font that provides a proper 
>conjunct glyph, it will use that, otherwise it will use a 
>construction with visible virāma.  In a way, this mimics the 
>behaviour of a traditional typesetting shop that may also not 
>have lead type for the more exotic conjuncts at all times.
>Most of the Unicode Devanagari fonts currently available cater 
>to the modern languages and lack some of the conjuncts that we 
>would like to have for Sanskrit.  But the important thing to 
>remember is that the encoding of your text files will be the 
>same regardless of which font you use.  So you could for 
>example write a text with a Hindi‐style Devanagari font that 
>comes with your computer, and then later switch to a 
>Sanskrit‐style font with many conjuncts without having to 
>change your text itself.  Also, if your computer supports 
>Unicode Devanagari at all, then the Devanagari should always 
>be displayed correctly, even if the currently available fonts 
>don’t make for the most aesthetic viewing experience.
>That’s what we meant by independence of input, encoding and 
>display in the Unicode model, a significant improvement over 
>the old days, where all three levels were conflated together 
>and where one was dependent on the very particular Devanagari 
>font that one used, making it impossible to exchange texts 
>with colleagues using a different font.  Now one can easily 
>write a Devanagari text in one font, later decide to switch to 
>another font, and send the text to a colleague who uses a 
>third font altogether.
>Those who would like to try Unicode Devanagari fonts beyond 
>those that come with their operating system can have a look here:
>But note that most of the fonts described on that page, even 
>if downloadable free of charge, have somewhat onerous usage 
>restrictions.  The only truly free Unicode Devanagari font 
>that I am currently aware of is the Gargi font, also linked to 
>from the above page.
>If you would like more advice or references on how to set 
>things up (though I am no Mac specialist), then please feel 
>free to contact me offlist.
>Best regards,
>Stefan Baums
>Stefan Baums
>Asian Languages and Literature
>University of Washington

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