[INDOLOGY] Devanagari font adequacy

Dominik Wujastyk wujastyk at gmail.com
Sun Jun 19 22:08:44 UTC 2016

Another font to take seriously is the new Murty Hindi
<http://www.murtylibrary.com/mcli-fonts.php>, which is pretty good for Skt
too.   It's a font that, to my eye, looks a lot better on paper than on the

Nota bene also an interesting new Devanagari font created  by Alessandro
Graheli, that can be seen in his recent publication *History and
Transmission of the Nyāyamañjarī. Critical Edition of the Section on the
Sphoṭa *
(Vienna: ​​
Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, 2015
​) <http://www.ikga.oeaw.ac.at/Mitarbeiter/Graheli>​.  Alessandro has been
strongly influenced by his long experience with Sanskrit manuscripts, and
his font reflects the influence of scribal traditions, for example the
interrupted akṣara-by-akṣara mātrā line.  It's subtle.


Professor Dominik Wujastyk* <http://ualberta.Academia.edu/DominikWujastyk>
Singhmar Chair in Classical Indian Society and Polity
Department of History and Classics <http://historyandclassics.ualberta.ca/>
University of Alberta, Canada

On 18 June 2016 at 22:31, Nityanand Misra <nmisra at gmail.com> wrote:

> 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
> http://nmisra.googlepages.com
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