Using unicode for diacriticals

Csaba Kiss csaba.kiss at YAHOO.CO.UK
Tue Nov 24 13:00:14 UTC 2009

Dear Colleagues,

I usually use Vim when I type in Sanskrit texts.
Vim is available for GNU/Linux and Mac (and
probably for Windows),
and is highly costumizable/programmable.
I am happy to share my Vim keymaps for Sanskrit
which support Unicode display with Velthuis
save functions (your file is saved in Velthuis encoding, but
you see it in Unicode in Vim). It enables you
to type your text in Velthuis (aaraama.h etc.), which
is very comfortable, and to see it on the screen in
Unicode immediately.

But I would also love to give a try to the xkb keyboard.

Csaba Kiss

On 2009.11.24., at 1:26, Andrew Ollett wrote:

> 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
> it.
> 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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