Thursday, 7 November 2013

South Indian Script - Kannada

Hi , as this is the next script in the series for south Asian scripts, it follows the same agenda as that of Devanagari . The Kannada script shares many features common to other Indic scripts but of course since this script is used to write the Kannada language, the scripts has different shapes of letters & different behaviour of conjunct consonants.

>>Principles of Kannada Script :

Like Devanagari & related scripts, the Kannada script employs a halant, which is also known as virama or vowel omission sign, U+0CCD ್ KANNADA SIGN VIRAMA. It has same purpose in forming dead consonants.

a. Vowel Letters :

Vowel letters are encoded atomically in Unicode, even if they can be analyzed visually as consisting of multiple parts. The script should be written so as the single code point should be used to represent in text, instead of writing the sequence of code points.

b. Consonant Conjuncts :

In Kannada, conjunct formation tends to be graphically regular using the following pattern :
  • The first consonant of the cluster is rendered with implicit vowel or different dependant vowel appearing as the terminal element of the cluster.
  • The remaining consonants appear in conjunct consonant glyph forms in phonetic order. They are generally depicted below or to the lower right of first consonant.

c. Special characters :

The Kannada two-part vowels actually consists of a nonspacing element above the consonant letter & one or more spacing elements to the right of the consonant letter. These two-length marks have no independent existence in Kannada writing system & do not play any part as independant codes in traditional collation order .

d. Kannada Letter LLLA :

U+0CDE KANNADA LETTER FA  ia actually an obsolete Kannada letter that is transliterated in Dravidian Scholarship as z, l or r. This form should have been named "LLLA" rather than "FA". so the name in the standard is simply a mistake. Collations should treat U+0CDE as following U+0CB3 KANNADA LETTER LLA.

>>Rendering Kannada :

The Kannada script employs CV order as it is employed by ISCII std& corresponds to the phonetic & keying order of textual data.
"Unlike Devanagari & some other Indian scripts, all of the dependant vowels in Kannada are depicted to the right of their consonant letters. Hence there is no need to reorder the elements in mapping from the logical store to presentation glyph rendering & vice versa."

a) Explicit virama (Halant) has same significance as in case of Devanagari

b) Consonant cluster involving RA :

ra ರ  + halant ್  +  ka ಕ  ->  rka ರ್ಕ

ra ರ + zwj  ‍+ halant  ್  + ka ಕ  -> rka ರ‍್ಕ

ka ಕ + halant ್  + ra ರ  -> kra ಕ್ರ
c) Modifier Mark  Rules :

The Nukta is represented by a double-dot mark, U0CBC KANNADA SIGN NUKTA (..) . Two such modified consonants are used in Kannada Language : One representing the syllable za & one representing the syllable fa.

d) Avagraha Sign :

A spacing mark called U+0CBD KANNADA SIGN AVAGRAHA is used when rendering Sanskrit texts.

e) Punctuation : same as that of devanagari [1].



  1. Nice blog. No need of reordering in Kannada script is very good it minimizes some of the complexity.

  2. yes definately . Particularly , It might reduce the "Pre-base" & "Post-base" substitution complexities.