[XeTeX] Mixed Roman and Indian alphabets for Sanskrit

Dominik Wujastyk wujastyk at gmail.com
Sun Feb 19 22:10:38 CET 2017

You say "Devanagari is even more difficult," Zdenek, but isn't it equally
difficult?  The use of variants of Devanagari for writing several languages
is parallel to the use of variants of the Roman script for setting
different languages from Europe and elsewhere (Vietnamese, Konkani, etc.).

Are there any cases where specifying Language and Script, e.g.,
\somemacro[Language=A,Script=B]{somefont}, is not adequate?  I can't think
of one.


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

South Asia at the U of A:


On 17 February 2017 at 09:15, Zdenek Wagner <zdenek.wagner at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi all,
> the situation is quite complex. I will start with the Latin script. I have
> a set of commercial fonts from the Czech vendor. The fonts can be used for
> Czech,
> Slovalk English, but not for French, Danish, Icelandic, because all glyphs
> are not covered. it can thus be characterized as \czechfont or \slovakfont
> but it cannot be a font for any language using the Latin script.
> Similarly, \russianfont need not contain glyphs used in Serbian. But let's
> return
> to French. The French typography places tiny spaces in front of a colon,
> semicolon, question mark, and exclamation mark but it is not used in other
> languages.
> OpenType implements it by cobination of two tags. You will have to specify
> Script=Latin, Language=French.
> Devanagari is even more difficult, because the same (but not the same)
> script is used for several languages. For instance, Hindi makes use of a
> few charcters
> with nukta but they are not used in Marathi and Sanskrit (I am not sure
> about Nepali but probably they are not used here either). If you look at
> Hindi Wikipedia
> or Hindi newspapers, the surname of actress Priyanka Chopra is written as
> चोपड़ा but im Marathi newspapers it is written as चोप्रा because ड़ is not
> used in
> Marathi. A few years ago FreeSans (with the Devanagari block derived from
> Gargi) did not contain half-ZA. In adition, Sanskrit requires the kta
> ligature while
> nowadays Hindi prefers half-ka+ta. Fonts intended for Sanskrit contain
> such ligatures, fonts intended fot Hindi do not contai it. So if you define
> \devanagarifont, which language do you have in mind? The only font with
> very good support is most probably FreeSerif, because it inderstands also
> the
> language tag and switches features. Try to typeset शक्ति (shakti) with
> Language=Hindi and Language=Sanskrit. You will see the difference. The
> language
> is also honoured in new versions of web browsers if the font supports it.
> I have such an example on my web http://hroch486.icpf.cas.cz/
> freefont-devanagari/
> so that if your browser supports such a feature, you will see the
> difference.
> What the language packages (Babel, Polyglossia) should do id to instruct
> users that they should assign a script to a language. I may wish to write a
> textbook
> of Hindi in Czech so that I will define \czechfont and \hindifont. If I
> wished to typeset a text containing both Russian and Serbian, I would
> select a font covering
> all glyphs for both languages and define \cyrillic font. The package will
> then be instructed to change the language, in th TeX sense the hyphenation
> patterns,
> and if needed the script will also be changed.
> The problem with Sanskrit is that it can be written in several scripts
> (even in Tibetan). I do not know what is the best solution in this case.
> Zdeněk Wagner
> http://ttsm.icpf.cas.cz/team/wagner.shtml
> http://icebearsoft.euweb.cz
> 2017-02-17 15:47 GMT+01:00 Philip Taylor <P.Taylor at rhul.ac.uk>:
>> Dominik Wujastyk wrote:
>> > I'm not sure what more to say, Phil. My comments arise out of my >
>> orientation to end-users (including myself), not the internals of the > OT
>> language or the "you can do anything" strengths of TeX. I'm > interested in
>> transparent terminology that makes it obvious to a > user, for example,
>> which hyphenation table is active at any > particular moment in a document.
>> OK, this I understand and accept.  But if an open standard such as the
>> OTF specification uses terms such as "language" and "script" with specific
>> and well-defined meanings, is it helpful to end-users to then re-define
>> those terms within an adjunct package such as Polyglossia or Babel ?  Just
>> as with Unicode, or the TEI, is it not better to stick with
>> well-established and standardised usage rather than invent a
>> (La)TeX-specific usage that can (IMHO) only lead to even worse confusion ?
>> ** Phil.
>> --------------------------------------------------
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