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

Marc Durdin marc at
Tue Mar 18 17:02:10 CDT 2014

And I understand the issue now.  My notebook did not have any “complex script” languages installed as “Editing Languages” in MS Office Language Preferences.  Thus, it stripped out U+200D when presenting the Sinhala text.  My office computer had Arabic installed as an “Editing Language,” and so the content rendered correctly.  The thing that threw me is that this is not even a rendering-level issue but a content-level issue – the content is corrupted before it ever gets to the renderer.

Traps for young players (and honestly, Microsoft, I should not have to install an “Editing” language to view an email…)  Sorry for spamming the list.


From: Unicode [mailto:unicode-bounces at] On Behalf Of Marc Durdin
Sent: Wednesday, 19 March 2014 8:45 AM
To: Tom Gewecke
Cc: Naena Guru; Jean-François Colson; UnicoDe List
Subject: RE: Dead and Compose keys (was: Re: Romanized Singhala got great reception in Sri Lanka)

I’ve done some more analysis now that I’ve arrived at my office (and if I’d read Doug’s email earlier, would have been able to see this too).  The email I received, on my notebook running Outlook 2010, has had U+200D stripped out from that Sinhala text – hence the rendering difference.  Now it gets weirder.  I also have Outlook 2010 running on my office computer, also attached to the same Exchange server: so I have two copies of the same email, which in a sane world would be byte-for-byte identical.  On my office computer, U+200D has not been stripped out, and the text renders in the same way as OS X.

I am struggling to understand why two copies of the same email have ended up with different content – given the clients are both running the same version of Windows and the same version of Outlook (even down to the same updates and security patches), connected to the same Exchange server.  MS Office Language Preferences do not list Sinhala in either case.  The same email on my iPhone has correct content, as does the webmail version.

Anyone got any ideas?


From: Tom Gewecke [mailto:tom at]
Sent: Wednesday, 19 March 2014 7:57 AM
To: Marc Durdin
Cc: Jean-François Colson; Naena Guru; UnicoDe List
Subject: Re: Dead and Compose keys (was: Re: Romanized Singhala got great reception in Sri Lanka)

On Mar 18, 2014, at 1:48 PM, Marc Durdin wrote:

Can anyone who is more knowledgeable in Unicode Sinhala tell me which is the correct rendering?   See graphic below.


The OS X version is the most correct according my limited knowledge of the script.  I think the Apple font does not place the diacritic over the second character correctly, it should be over the next one.  This can be fixed by using the Bhashitha font.

Also it's possible that some of the characters should be "touching".  I did not add the code  for that and don't think any of my current fonts support it.

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