Using unicode for diacriticals

Andrew Ollett andrew.ollett at LING-PHIL.OX.AC.UK
Tue Nov 24 00:26:08 UTC 2009

i suspect that other linux-using indologists have written their own keyboard
maps for romanization, because xkb makes it relatively easy.  but if anyone
is on a linux system that uses xkb (e.g. ubuntu) and wants a keyboard, i
would be glad to send mine along with instructions on how to load and modify

andrew ollett

On Tue, Nov 24, 2009 at 12:16 AM, George Hart <glhart at> wrote:

> Note that in Unicode, the standard Indic diacriticals work fine (I'm not
> sure about Vedic accents).  I have a Mac keyboard driver, if anyone is
> interested -- it uses the slash as a dead key and makes entering
> diacriticals (classical Sanskrit, Tamil at least) quite easy.  I'm sure it
> would be simple to write a similar driver for Windows 7, though I don't know
> how to do it.  I think we should try to move away from all the clunky older
> systems (like my own TimesIndian) to unicode -- and also avoid such readable
> but inelegant formulations as sa.mbhavaami (saṃbhavāmi) or, worse,
> zaastraaNi (śāstrāṇi).
> Here is the beginning of the Meghadūta (Meghasandeśa) in unicode.
> kaścit kāntāvirahaguruṇā svādhikārāt pramattaḥ
> śāpenāstaṅgamitamahimā varṣabhogyena bhartuḥ
> etc.
> Here's some Tamil:
> kārviri koṉṟaip poṉṉēr putumalart
> tāraṉ mālaiyaṉ malainta kaṇṇiyaṉ
> mārpiṉaḥtē maiyil nuṇñāṇ
> nutala timaiyā nāṭṭam ikalaṭṭuk
> kaiyatu kaṇicciyoṭu maḻuvē mūvāy....
> If anyone wants my keyboard driver, drop me a line.  I also have a Nisus
> macro to translate TimesIndian to unicode.  This works fine in Windows 7 --
> I just pasted the above into a Word 07 document, and the diacriticals are
> there in Helvetica and New Times Roman.  They also work in the latest Office
> for Mac and other Mac programs.  (To my surprise, it also seems to work in
> XP, which I just tried).  Of course, you have to use a font that has the
> standard Unicode diacriticals.  It would be nice also to use Devanagari,
> Tamil, Telugu etc. unicode, but entering those writing systems (except
> Tamil) tends to be quite difficult unless one practices a lot.
> I think this is important, as use of the unicode fonts that now come
> standard on every computer makes it possible to read, edit and search Indic
> texts easily.  I have received theses and papers in Word format with 8 or 9
> different encoding systems -- and ended up having to install fonts for each.
>  And even if the document is a pdf, you still can't search it unless you
> have the font and a way of inputting it.  Unicode solves these problems.
> Does anyone know of a good Windows keyboard driver for inputting these
> diacritics?  George Hart

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