Re: Vedic Characters & Unicode (fwd)

From: James E. Agenbroad (
Date: Tue Apr 11 2000 - 12:49:17 EDT

                                             Tuesday, April 11, 2000

          Jim Agenbroad ( )
     The above are purely personal opinions, not necessarily the official
views of any government or any agency of any.
Phone: 202 707-9612; Fax: 202 707-0955; US mail: I.T.S. Dev.Gp.4, Library
of Congress, 101 Independence Ave. SE, Washington, D.C. 20540-9334 U.S.A.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 11 Apr 2000 09:20:59 -0400
From: John Robert Gardner <jrgardn@EMORY.EDU>
Subject: Re: Vedic Characters & Unicode

It is my understand that the vedic accent set, and quite a large one at
that, is part of std. subsequent to ISCII-1988 (My copy is not here in the
office), and this set is part of Annex G of the set. It's complete, but
not implemented anywhere I know of. I remember Mohan Tambe at (I think)
GIST had a role in this and was working on it . . . then there was a weird
rant about the Taj Mahal and ISCII a while back . . . in response to an
effort not unlike yours. A word of advice in advance: tread lightly.
This topic generates more inconclusive babble than one would think. It
was IS 13194:1991 (which is out of synch with Unicode 1.0, though unicode
is a superset of ISCII:1991). Alas, Annex G is expressly excepted from

Have a look at ISCII, at lest, before you proceed . . . Unicode 3 may have
begun to address this. Unicode 3.0 (see sect 9.1, pp. 211f of the
consortium's volume) encodes ISCII in same relative posiitons, A0-F4/16.
This is an uphill battle to say the least. I've even heard respected
indologists . . . even leaders in teh e-text field . . . argue _against_
keeping such nuances as the yet-to-be-resolved idiom of ZB accent.

A sad state, if I might eulogize a moment, when the precision of
transmission which is described as a "tape recording from ancient times"
due to the precision of pronunciation is nonetheless in danger of being
lost in encoding. It would be tantamount to the British atrocities of
building railroad beds with bricks from Mohenjo Daro, or US atrocities of
pumping deadly gas into the air at Bopal.


John Robert Gardner, Ph.D.
XML Engineer
Emory University
"If there is something you're thinking of doing, or wish you could do,
begin it. In boldness there is mystery and power . . . . " -Goethe

On Tue, 11 Apr 2000, Christopher John Fynn wrote:

> The Vedic signs (double udatta etc.), currently have no representation in the
> Unicode and ISO 10646 standards - though several people have mentioned to me at
> various times that there is a real need for these characters in order to
> represent Vedic texts.
> The only way to see these characters encoded in the Unicode and ISO 10646
> standards is for a formal proposal to encode these characters put forward to the
> Unicode Consortium and/or to ISO/IEC 10646 JTC1/SC2/WG2. For information on how
> to make such a proposal to the Unicode Consortium see:
> . Making such a proposal to
> ISO/IEC 10646 JTC1/SC2/WG2 should be done through your national standards body.
> If no one else wants to volunteer to do the work of making such a proposal,
> I'm willing to it myself since I'm familiar with the process and am a member of
> BSI IST2, the UK committee represented on ISO/IEC 10646 JTC1/SC2/WG2. However
> I'm not a Sanskritist and don't have any information on these characters. If any
> subscribers to this list know of source(s) where these characters and their use
> is thoroughly documented (pref. in English) perhaps you could let me know. (A
> photocopy or PDF file of such a source or sources would be even more helpful).
> Unless and until these characters are included in the Unicode and ISO 10646
> standards there will be no proper support for them in the Unicode based Indic
> language systems currently being implemented in Windows 2000, Mac OS, X-Windows
> and other operating environments - nor will there be a proper, standards based,
> way of representing such characters in HTML, XML etc.
> Best Regards
> - Chris
> Christopher J Fynn
> 4 Chester Court
> 84 Salusbury Road
> London NW6 6PA
> United Kingdom
> Tel: +44 (0)181 537 6762

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