Counting Devanagari Aksharas
Naena Guru via Unicode
unicode at unicode.org
Sun Apr 23 14:06:26 CDT 2017
The Unicode approach to Sanskrit and all Indic is flawed. Indic should
not be letter-assembly systems.
Sanskrit vyaakaraNa (grammar) explains the phonemes as the atoms of the
speech. Each writing system then assigns a shape to the phonetically
The most technically and grammatically proper solution for Indic is
first to ROMANIZE the group of writing systems at the level of phonemes.
That is, assign romanized shapes to vowels, consonants, prenasals,
post-vowel phonemes (anusvara and visarjaniiya with its allophones) etc.
This approach is similar to how European languages picked up Latin,
improvised the script and even uses Simples and Capitals repertoire.
Romanizing immediately makes typing easier and eliminates sometimes
embarrassing ambiguity in Anglicizing -- you type phonetically on key
layouts close to QWERTY. (Only four positions are different in Romanized
If we drop the capitalizing rules and utilize caps to indicate the
'other' forms of a common letter, we get an intuitively typed system for
each language, and readable too. When this is done carefully, comparing
phoneme sets of the languages, we can reach a common set of
Latin-derived SINGLE-BYTE letters completely covering all phonemes of
Next, each native script can be obtained by making orthographic smart
fonts that display the SBCS codes in the respective shapes of the native
I have successfully romanized Sinhala and revived the full repertoire of
Sinhla + Sanskrit orthography losing nothing. Sinhala script is perhaps
the most complex of all Indic because it is used to write both Sanskrit
See this: http://ahangama.com/ (It's all SBCS underneath).
Test here: http://ahangama.com/edit.htm
On 4/20/2017 5:05 AM, Richard Wordingham via Unicode wrote:
> Is there consensus on how to count aksharas in the Devanagari script?
> The doubts I have relate to a visible halant in orthographic syllables
> other than the first.
> For example, according to 'Devanagari VIP Team Issues Report'
> http://www.unicode.org/L2/L2011/11370-devanagari-vip-issues.pdf, a
> derived form from Nepali श्रीमान् should be written श्रीमान्को
> <U+0936 DEVANAGARI LETTER SHA, U+094D DEVANAGARI SIGN VIRAMA, U+0930
> DEVANAGARI LETTER RA, U+0940 DEVANAGARI VOWEL SIGN II, U+092E
> DEVANAGARI LETTER MA, U+093E DEVANAGARI VOWEL SIGN AA, U+0928
> DEVANAGARI LETTER NA, U+094D, U+200C ZERO WIDTH NON-JOINER, U+0915
> DEVANAGARI LETTER KA, U+094B DEVANAGARI VOWEL SIGN O> and not
> श्रीमान्को <U+0936, U+094D, U+0930, U+0940, U+092E, U+093E, U+0928,
> U+094D, U+0915, U+094B>. Now, if the font used has a conjunct for
> SHRA, I would count the former as having 4 aksharas SH.RII, MAA, N, KO
> and the latter as having 3 aksharas SH.RII, MAA, N.KO.
> If the font leads to the use of a visible halant instead of the vattu
> conjunct SH.RA, as happens when I view this email, would there then be
> 5 and 4 aksharas respectively? A further complication is that the font
> chosen treats what looks like SH, RA as a conjunct; the vowel I appears
> to the left of SH when added after RA (श्रि).
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