[INDOLOGY] Devanagari font adequacy

Nityanand Misra nmisra at gmail.com
Sun Jun 19 04:31:58 UTC 2016

Dear Prof. Scharf

Are the .tex files available for reference? Would be helpful to use them.
Some of the conjuncts in Ulrich Stiehl's list are absent in Sanskrit. For
example झ्झ (conjunct # 572 in Stiehl's list) would be impossible in
Sanskrit due to झलां जश् झशि.

As for the five recommended fonts, how many have bold, bold italic, and
italic weights? I know that Chandas, Sanskrit 2003, (and most probably
Uttara too) have only one weight. It is impractical to typeset a book in a
single weight. One can resort to AutoFakeBold and AutoFakeSlant options in
LaTeX but the result would be unprofessional. Another thing is that fonts
like Chandas are good for screen, but when printed they look synthetic. The
two strokes in र of Chandas are both straight lines, looks very unnatural.

The font I have settled for with use in LaTeX is Chanakya Sanskrit by
Summit Information Technology Pvt Ltd based in Gurgaon. This is the
extension of the legacy Chanakya font that is used by all standard Indian
publishers like Gita Press. Beautiful, artistic, and with four weights. It
is expensive to buy, but worth the money if one wants to use the fonts to
publish books. Sample pages of a book I recently designed and typeset in
XeLaTeX using Chanakya Pro (Chanakya Sanskrit is a superset of Chanakya
Pro) are attached.

PS: Chanakya Pro and Chanakya Sanskrit are both without Vedic accents. This
is a limitation.

PPS: I stopped using skt package long ago, since XeLaTeX allows direct
Unicode input. For four years now I have used XeLaTeX with polyglossia to
typeset books in Sanskrit and Hindi.

Thanks, Nityanand

On 18 June 2016 at 00:58, Peter Scharf <scharfpm7 at gmail.com> wrote:

> Dear Indologists,
> I have just completed a comparison of the ligature formation produced by
> several Devanagari fonts and thought it might be useful to share the
> results of the comparison.  I compared 1260 ligatures formed by the LaTeX
> Skt package with seven Unicode fonts.  The ligatures compared were the
> combined set of all those listed by Ulrich Stiehl in his document, *Conjunct
> Consonants in Sanskrit*, Heidelberg, 21 April 2003, pp. 4--34, and those
> listed in the Skt package documentation *Sanskrit for LaTeX2e*, pp.
> 22--35.
> 1. LaTeX Skt package
> 2. Chandas
> 3. Uttara
> 4. Sanskrit2003
> 5. Praja
> 6. Arial Unicode MS
> 7. Devanagari MT
> 8. Mangal
> The LaTeX Skt package comes with the TeXLive installation available at
> https://www.tug.org/texlive/.  The Chandas and Uttara fonts were produced
> by produced by Mihail Bayaryn and are available at
> http://www.sanskritweb.net/cakram/.  The Sanskrit2003 font was produced
> by Ulrich Stiehl and is available at
> http://www.omkarananda-ashram.org/Sanskrit/itranslator2003.htm.  These
> fonts are all available free of cost.  Praja was produced by Peter Freund
> and is available for $35 at
> https://secure.bmtmicro.com/servlets/Orders.ShoppingCart?CID=5115&PRODUCTID=51150002.
> Arial Unicode MS is available with Microsoft Office, FrontPage and
> Publisher, with the installation of international support.  Devanagari MT
> is available with Mac systems with the Asian languages support.  Mangal is
> available with Windows systems with supplemental language support.
> The comparison showed that Chandas and Uttara are able to form all
> conjuncts correctly with the exception of seven sequences: *ṅkṣṇva*,
> *ṅrvya*, *ṭhthya*, *dḍḍa*, *ddbra*, *ddvra*, *l̃la*, without the
> interruption of an inappropriate virāma.  The LaTeX Skt package handles all
> but 29.  Sanskrit 2003 lacked 80, Praja 187, Arial Unicode MS 201,
> Devanagari MT 232, and Mangal 236.  I also checked the behavior of the
> fonts in handling the accents in the Devanagari extended, and Vedic
> extenstions Unicode pages.  Only the Praja font handled them all properly,
> the LaTeX Skt package handles most Vedic accentuation, while most fonts
> handled only the common accentual system.  A test of Vedic accents with any
> font can be performed by visiting the Sanskrit Library's interactive Vedic
> Unicode character phonetic value table at
> http://sanskritlibrary.org/accents.html.  Simply set your browser to use
> the font you would like to test.
> The first five fonts listed are therefore commendable; the last three are
> inadequate for Sanskrit.  It would be desirable for Mihail Bayaryn and
> Ulrich Stiehl to upgrade their fonts, which otherwise handle conjuncts very
> comprehensively, to handle the Vedic characters in the two Unicode pages
> mentioned including in particular the combining candrabindu with semivowels
> *l*, *y*, and *v*.
> Other Indic fonts not tested are described on the University of Chicago's
> South Asia Language Resource Center page at
> http://salrc.uchicago.edu/resources/fonts/available/hindi/.
> Yours,
> Peter
> *************************
> Peter M. Scharf
> scharfpm7 at gmail.com
> *************************
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Nityānanda Miśra

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