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Description of the Kannada Language

Kannada Unicode Design Guide

(Version 1.0/March 2002)

Resource Center for Indian Language Technology Solutions - Kannada

Department of Management Studies

Indian Institute of Science

Bangalore 560 012

Sponsored byTechnology Development for Indian Languages Mission

Ministry of Communications and Information Technology

Government of India

Kannada Unicode Design Guide

(Version 1.0)

Abstract: This document provides general information about the Kannada language and conventions of its usage in computers. It provides information about the Input, Storage, Display and Printing of Kannada Characters. We strongly feel that this information gathered from various standards is necessary for the correct usage of the language in various applications of Kannada Language Computing. It also includes the sorting sequence for Kannada in Unicode.

Electronic version of this document will also be made available on the following websites: 1: This document contains Unicode characters and can be viewed using MS Office XP on Windows XP or equivalent

Note 2: The Convention followed in Unicode (Version 3.0) Chapter 9 (South and Southeast Asian Scripts) is used in this document and might differ from the notation commonly used in the Kannada Script.

Contact Information:

Chief Investigator

Resource Centre for Indian Language Technology Solutions- Kannada

Department of Management Studies

Indian Institute of Science

Bangalore 560 012

Phone : 91-80-346 6022 / 394 2377 (Dir)

91-80-394 2378 / 394 2567

Fax : 91-80-346 6022 / 3600683 / 3600085

Email : root@iltwebserver.mgmt.iisc.ernet.inTable of Contents

1. History of Kannada Language


1.1 Description of Kannada Language


1.2 Brief introduction to Kannada language


1.2.1 Vowels

6 1.2.2 Anuswaras

6 1.2.3 Visarga

6 1.2.4 Avagraha


1.2.5 Consonants


1.2.6 Basic Language Rule in Kannada

72. Technical Characteristics


2.1 Kannada Alphabet Characteristic


2.1.1 Consonant Letters


2.1.2 Independent Vowel Letters


2.1.3 Dependent Vowel Signs


2.1.4 Virama (Halant)


2.1.5 Consonant Conjuncts


2.1.6 Visarg


2.1.7 Avagrah


2.1.8 Numerals


2.1.9 Punctuation Marks


2.1.10 Ancient Signs


2.2 Fonts


2.2.1 Font developing Tools


2.3 Keyboard


2.4 Presentation and Storage Considerations


2.5 Rendering Rules


2.5.1 Dead Consonant Rule


2.5.2 Consonant RA Rules


2.5.3 Ligature Rules


2.6 Sorting issues in Kannada


2.6.1 Sorting of Nukta characters


2.6.2 Sorting the data records containing anuswara and visarga


2.6.3 Sorting of words with dead consonants


2.6.4 Sorting of Conjuncts having two different display forms


2.6.5 Sorting of Diacritic characters


2.6.6 Conclusion


3. References


Appendix 1: Unicode chart and the Collation chart if deletion and relocation are not allowed21

Appendix 2: Unicode chart and the Collation chart if deletion and relocation are allowed

24Appendix 3: Output from FontLab displaying all glyphs in the glyph set standardised by KGP271. History of Kannada Language

Kannada is a south Indian language spoken in Karnataka state of India.Kannada is originated from the Dravidian Language. Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam are the other South Indian Languages originated from Dravidian Language. Kannada and Telugu have almost the same script. Malayalam and Tamil have resemblance. Kannada as a language has undergone modifications since BCs. It can be classified into four types-

Purva Halegannada (from the beginning till 10th Century)

Halegannada (from 10th Century to 12th Century)

Nadugannada (from 12th Century to 15th Century)

Hosagannada (from 15th Century)

1.1 Description of Kannada Script

Kannada script is the visual form of Kannada language. It originated from southern Bramhi lipi of Ashoka period. It underwent modifications periodically in the reign of Sathavahanas, Kadambas, Gangas, Rastrakutas, and Hoysalas. Even before seventh-Century, the Telugu-Kannada script was used in the inscriptions of the Kadambas of Banavasi and the early Chalukya of Badami in the west. From the middle of the seventh century the archaic variety of the Telugu-Kannada script developed a middle variety. The modern Kannada and Telugu scripts emerged in the thirteenth Century. Kannada script is also used to write Tulu, Konkani and Kodava languages.

Kannada along with other Indian language scripts shares a large number of structural features. The writing system of Kannada script encompasses the principles governing the phonetics and a syllabic writing systems, and phonemic writing systems (alphabets). The effective unit of writing Kannada is the orthographic syllable consisting of a consonant and vowel (CV) core and optionally, one or more preceding consonants, with a canonical structure of ((C) C) CV. The orthographic syllable need not correspond exactly with a phonological syllable, especially when a consonant cluster is involved, but the writing system is built on phonological principles and tends to correspond quite closely to pronunciation. The orthographic syllable is built up of alphabetic pieces, the actual letters of Kannada script. These consist of distinct character types: Consonant letters, independent vowels and the corresponding dependent vowel signs. In a text sequence, these characters are stored in logical phonetic order.

The Kannada block of Unicode Standard (0C80 to 0CFF) is based on ISCII-1988 (Indian Standard Code for Information Interchange). The Unicode Standard (Version 3) encodes Kannada characters in the same relative positions as those coded in the ISCII-1988 standard.

1.2 Brief introduction to Kannada language

1.2.1 Vowels (Swaras) Vowels are the independently existing letters which are called Swaras. They are-

There are two types of Swaras depending on the time used to pronounce. They are Hrasva Swara and Deerga Swara.

Hrasva Swara

A freely existing independent vowel which can be pronounced in a single matra time (matra kala) also called as a matra. They are-

Deergha Swara A freely existing independent vowel which can be pronounced in two matras. They are-

1.2.2 Anuswaras 1.2.3 Visarga 1.2.4 Avagraha Also called as Plutha, which is used for the third matra either in a consonant or a vowel.

1.2.5 Consonants (Vyanjanas) These are dependent on vowels to take a independent form of the Consonant.These can be divided into Vargeeya and Avargeeya.Vargeeya Vyanjanas Avargeeya Vyanjanas

1.2.6 Basic Language Rule in KannadaWhen a dependent consonant combines with an independent vowel, a Akshara is formed.

Consonant (Vyanjana) + Vowel (matra) ---> Letter (Akshara)

Example: + ---> Based on this rule we can combine all the Consonants (Vyanjanas) with the existing Vowels (matra)

to form Kagunitha for Kannada alphabet.

2. Technical Characteristics

Note: The Convention followed from this section of the document is same as the Unicode Chapter 9 (South and Southeast Asian Scripts) and might not be grammatically correct.

2.1 Kannada Alphabet Characteristic

2.1.2 Consonant Letters

Each of the consonant represents a single consonantal sound but also has the peculiarity of having inherent vowel, generally the short vowel (U+0C85). Thus, U+0C95 Kannada letter KA represents not just K () but KA (). In the presence of the dependent vowel, however, the inherent vowel associated with a consonant letter is overridden by the dependent vowel. The different Consonants in Kannada are:

2.1.3 Dependent Vowel Signs (Matras)

The dependent vowels, also known as Swaras in Kannada, serve as the common manner of writing non-inherent vowels and are generally referred to as Swara Chinhas in Kannada or Matras in Sanskrit. The dependent vowels do not appear stand-alone; rather, they are visibly depicted in combination with a base-letter form (generally a consonant). A single consonant or a consonant cluster may have a dependent vowel applied to it to indicate the vowel quality of the syllable, when it is different from the inherent vowel. Explicit appearance of a dependent vowel in a syllable overrides the inherent vowel (U +0C85) of a single consonant letter.

There are several variations with which the dependent vowels are applied to the base letterforms. Most of them appear as non-spacing dependent vowels signs when applied to base letterforms; above to the right side of a consonant letter or a consonant cluster. The following are the exceptions and variations for the above rule:

The two dependent vowel signs (U+0CCC3 & U+0


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