3.68 Sanskrit coding, cont. (72)

Fri, 26 May 89 00:09:19 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 68. Friday, 26 May 1989.

Date: Thu, 25 May 89 12:23
From: Wujastyk (on GEC 4190 Rim-D at UCL) <UCGADKW@EUCLID.UCL.AC.UK>
Subject: Sanskrit coding

[This private contribution on the subject of Sanskrit coding is
apparently meant to be overheard by us all. --W.M.]

Dear Mathieu,

Thank you for your recent message. I am somewhat perplexed that you have
decided to adopt my coding scheme, because I can see very little merit in it!
Surely a scheme where the characters are at least in Sanskrit alphabetical
order would be better?

The point that I *do* think is quite good about my scheme is that I only use
character positions above 224. This keeps all the French and German characters
intact, as well as all the graphics characters. I have no excuse for putting l
underdot at position 157 and I can't remember why on earth I did so. what if a
Japanese Sanskritist wanted to enquire about the cost of a book about the root
k.lp? Perhaps it should be shifted, say to 252?

You ask about M underdot and L underdot: the first is already at position 226,
and the second could be put in one of the spare positions in the 224--255
sequence, say 250.

What about other characters that we may want to add in future?

The superscript circle (248) is quite good as a Sanskrit ellipsis sign.
The raised large dot (249) could be available for redefinition.
The raised small dot (250) could be the L underdot (see above).
The square root (251) is quite useful for philologists.
The raised n (252) could be the l underdot (see above).

But positions 248 and 251 should be used for accented characters if they have
to be. For example, although the vocalic l is never long in Sanskrit or Pali,
one might want to say so, which would necessitate upper and lower case l
underdot macron.

I think one can argue that position 254 is a graphic character, like 219--223,
and should be preserved too (I can imagine it being used, a bit like 16, as a
pointer or marker in a screen menu system).

After this, I think the next group of characters that should fall prey to our
needs are the graphic characters that combine a single and a double stroke,
i.e., 181--184, 189, 190, 198, 199, 207--214, and 216. It seems to me that
these are not widely used in character-based graphic screen design. This gives
another 17 positions to play with. These could be used for some signs for
Hindi, accented Vedic long vowels, anunasika, or whatever.

But please give serious thought to arranging the Sanskrit characters in 224--
255 at least in alphabetical order.

Finally, if you need a good screen font editor, I can let you have one. It
comes as part of a package with a rather good editor called "E!", although it
is a separate program. It allows for editing EGA and VGA fonts. Another
program loads these fonts into the EGA or VGA memory. I can give you my
actual screen font, if you like.

Best wishes,


cc HUMANIST, Bart van Nooten