Virama (was: New and Improved Script....)
|From:||John Cowan <jcowan@...>|
|Date:||Thursday, March 16, 2000, 19:46|
Sally Caves wrote:
> > virama (vowel killer)
> How does that work?
A standard feature of Indic scripts is that each consonant letter contains an
inherent vowel, typically whatever the local representative of Middle Indic
short /a/ is: Hindi /@/, Bengali /O/, and so on. If you write the
"k" consonant letter by itself it means not /k/ but /ka/. If you write it
with an "a:" diacritic it means /ka:/, with an "i" diacritic it means
/ki/, and so on. These diacritics can appear above, below, before, or
after the consonant letter, or even in two pieces before and after, depending
on the vowel and the individual script. There are also stand-alone vowel
letters, used for vowels that are not preceded by consonants.
The virama is a diacritic which when attached to a consonant "kills"
the vowel, so that the consonant letter "k" now represents simply /k/.
Explicit viramas usually appear on a final consonant. In the
case of a consonant cluster, all but the last letter of the cluster
typically appear in a "half-consonant" form, graphically reduced
by omitting the stem. This is equivalent to the use of a virama, and
in ISCII (Indian character code) and Unicode, half-consonants are represented
internally to the computer by using the regular consonant plus a virama code.
Schlingt dreifach einen Kreis um dies! || John Cowan <jcowan@...>
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Denn er genoss vom Honig-Tau, || http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
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