Re: Unicode Mongolian

From: Valeriy E. Ushakov (
Date: Mon Mar 20 2000 - 13:57:28 EST

It seems I deleted the original message inadvertedly, so excuse my
replying to another reply.

> "If the Mongolian script is adopted into horizontal text,
> its lines are rotated another 90 degrees counterclockwise
> so that the letters join left to right, and the columns
> are transcribed to the equivalent lines (first column
> becomes first line, and so on).

> Apart from an obvious mistake: - "first column becomes
> first line, and so on" is wrong, rather last column
> becomes first line, and so on is true,

No, the text is right. What would be first column if written in
vertical script is written as first line when written in LTR.

> It would have been easy to make Mongolian an horizontal
> RTL script, (i.e. rotating 90 degrees clockwise). Then
> viewing the text sideways would result in normal
> Mongolian reading order! This way has been used by
> scholars during the last 200 years, when Mongolian
> studies grew up.

Huh. I saw manuscripts in Tibetan written by Buriats with occasional
notes (few words) in Classical Mongolian and when written horizontally
they were always written rotated counter-clockwise.

I guess this is because of simple ergonomic reasons. When you are not
a computer typesetting system, you just don't know how wide the short
Mongolian excerpt is going to be, so you just continue to write LTR
and rotate counter-clockwise to have the directionality of vertical
script to coincide with the surrounding LTR text.

Reading is also easier as your eyes don't have to jump around
switching directions.

Would it be an RTL text (e.g. short Mongolian excerpt in Arabic text)
my guess is that it would have been written rotated clockwise to go
RTL with the rest of the text.

I mean, we are not talking about huge chunks of Mongolian, we are
talking about short passages few words long. In this case consistency
and continuity with surrounding horizontal text matters more, I think,
than lines being in the same order the columns would be (often those
short passages will not even cross a line boundary, thus making the
whole columns/lines order argument irrelevant).

Also I just checked that Pozdneev in his "Buddhism of Mongolia"
(published 1887) gives copious Mongolian in LTR/counter-clockwise.

SY, Uwe

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