[INDOLOGY] Fwd: Devanagari -- vedic mark encoding and position

Amba Kulkarni ambapradeep at gmail.com
Wed Oct 23 16:55:32 UTC 2013

Following message which I posted 3 days back is not delivered, and hence
posting again.

-- Amba Kulkarni

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Amba Kulkarni <ambapradeep at gmail.com>
Date: 20 October 2013 08:26
Subject: Devanagari -- vedic mark encoding and position
To: "indology at list.indology.info" <indology at list.indology.info>

Dear list members,

I am forwarding a mail I received regarding the placing of Vedic accent
marks vis-a-vis the vowel and nasalised markers.

The scholars may please write to Steve White directly.

With regards,
Amba Kulkarni


----- Original Message -----

From: "Steve White" <swhite at zipcon.net>

Sent: 10/03/13 02:50 PM

To: Sanskrit Team member

Subject: Re: Devanagari test file -- vedic mark encoding and position

Hi Nandu,

I will attempt to "pose the question" as best I can.
(although several very good responses have been given already.)
Question 1B is pretty well answered.  The others seem to be debatable.

Q1:  Are there prescribed encoding orders for vedic tone marks
     relative to
	A) nasalizations (anusvara, visarga, candribindu)
	B) vowel marks (matra)?

Q2: what is the preferred graphical position of vedic tone marks
     relative to these same other sets of marks?


I should point out there are three distinct "orders" of letters and marks:

1) the phonological, or "logical" order

2) the order the letters are input or typed

3) the encoding order, in which they should appear in Unicode text

4) the order they should or may be displayed (but often a mark is
displayed over or under another, position isn't really an "order".)

Different replies on this thread have addressed different ones of these.


Since I first started asking these questions, I've revisited the
relevant Unicode and OpenType documents.  And it's clear why this is
problematic.  The current documents don't quite answer the questions.

* Unicode Book Chapter 4 Character Properties
* Unicode Book Chapter 9 South Asian Scripts I
* OpenType terms - especially the "Notation" section
* OpenType on Indic Shaping Engine

The Unicde and OpenType standards are pretty clear regarding the
*encoding* order of tone marks with respect to vowels and consonants.

OpenType clearly shows
	[VM] + [SM] (vowel marks before stress/tone marks)
(And I now realize: the inherant 'a' of each consonant makes it
consistent to attach these directly to a consonant glyph.)

However, under any interpretation of the docs I have been able to imagine,
I do not see anywhere an explicit statement of where nasalizations
(bindus) such as anusvara and candrabindu may appear in the encoding,
particularly, where they may be encoded with respect to tone marks.

There is one rough statement in the Unicode doc
	"These marks indicate nasalization or final nasal closure of a
But does that mean, their encoding must antecede all other marks
in the syllable?

Unicode classifies most of the Indic marks with the interesting
word "reorderant", which I gather to mean their graphcal representation
might not follow the encoding... I'm really not sure what it means.

Am I missing something?



----- Original Message -----

From: "Steve White" <swhite at zipcon.net>

Sent: 10/05/13 03:44 PM

To: Sanskrit Team member

Subject: Re: Devanagari test file -- vedic mark encoding and position

Hi again,

Let me give concrete examples of the problem.
Below are HTML strings, using Unicode character codes, together with
the Unicode they produce.

These are not rendered properly on Windows or Linux, although the
encodings are right, to the best of my understanding (of answers from
your colleagues and from my readings of the standards).



This seems not to be a font issue, but rather a behavior of the font
shaping engine. The effect happens in any font with the capacity to
show a mismatched mark with a dotted circle.

(Curiously, I made a font with the positioning tables built in for these
encodings, but neglected to provide dotted circle.  The marks were
positioned correctly!!  I have no explanation for this.)

With the Siddhanta font and Windows fonts, a different encoding works:
This is handled by Windows and Linux.  But my understanding was, the
bindu should come last!

Your thoughts will be much appreciated!

आ नो भद्रा: क्रतवो यन्तु विश्वत: ll
Let noble thoughts come to us from every side.
- Rig Veda, I-89-i.
Assoc Prof.  and Head
Department of Sanskrit Studies
University of Hyderabad
Prof. C.R. Rao Road
Hyderabad-500 046

(91) 040 23133802(off)


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