Dead and Compose keys (was: Re: Romanized Singhala got great reception in Sri Lanka)

Doug Ewell doug at
Tue Mar 18 11:29:03 CDT 2014

Jean-François Colson <jf at colson dot eu> wrote:

>>> Type this inside the yellow text box in the following page:
>>> kaaryyaalavala yanþra pañkþi
>>> Please tell me what sequence of Unicode Sinhala codes would produce
>>> what the text box shows.
>> Could an aware person tell how to type the syllable ryyaa?
> Perhaps a good tutorial on the use of ZWJ/ZWNJ in Sinhala could do the
> job.

The RS-to-Unicode conversion tool on Naena's own site gives
කාර්‍ය්‍යාලවල යන්ත්‍ර
පඞ්ක්ති, but this doesn't exactly match the text in the
yellow box visually. I suppose some combination of ZWJ/ZWNJ usage and
font differences accounts for this.

In any case, I wouldn't expect his RS-to-Unicode converter to work with
100% fidelity, given that he is trying to make a case that Unicode is
inadequate to represent Sinhala text.

Naena knows from previous threads that I don't speak or write Sinhala. I
hope his intent in asking me to provide a Unicode transcoding is not to
call attention to this, and to try to demonstrate thereby that he knows
more about character encoding than I do. I can spend a little more time
on this when I'm in front of my Windows 8.1 machine, which has better
support for Sinhala than Windows 7.

But I would think a better argument on Naena's part would be to show
*us* what parts of "kaaryyaalavala yanþra pañkþi" can be adequately
represented in his scheme but not in Unicode. And by "represented," I
don't just mean "displayed on any arbitrary system." Display problems
can be and tend to be fixed over time, and are not all there is to
character encoding anyway.

I did also notice that Naena carefully avoided responding to my point
that his approach prevents the simultaneous plain-text display of
en-Latn and si-Sinh, something he does often on his web pages.

Doug Ewell | Thornton, CO, USA | @DougEwell

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