Brahmic Scripts

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clawgrip
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Brahmic Scripts

Post by clawgrip » Tue 08 Jul 2014, 16:06

I have been developing fonts for two closely-related descendants of Brahmi formerly used in Turkestan: Tocharian and Khotanese.

Image

I'm also eventually planning to submit a proposal to Unicode for Tocharian. Unicode already has a proposed range for Tocharian in its Roadmap to the SMP (They have called it 'Turkestani', a name I disagree with since it negates the possibility of Khotanese being considered its own script).

I have made a very preliminary proposal so far. It can be seen here.

I'm having some trouble developing the OpenType portion of the font. I don't know OpenType coding very well, so it is a bit hard for me, and the fact that I am doing it in an as-of-yet undefined range means that there are no presets or automatic things that many established scripts have.

If there's anyone who knows about Tocharian, or Khotanese, or OpenType, let me know what you think. Even if you don't know much about them, let me know what you think anyway! Thanks!
Last edited by clawgrip on Thu 14 Aug 2014, 02:37, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Turkestan Brahmi

Post by Ahzoh » Tue 08 Jul 2014, 18:04

They look so pretty, I might derive my numbers from some of them.
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Re: Turkestan Brahmi

Post by eldin raigmore » Tue 08 Jul 2014, 18:10

clawgrip wrote:I have been developing fonts for two closely-related descendants of Brahmi formerly used in Turkestan: Tocharian and Khotanese.
… (with additional impressive elaboration) ...
Impressive! [O.O] [:)] [tick]
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Re: Turkestan Brahmi

Post by atman » Wed 09 Jul 2014, 03:59

clawgrip wrote:I have been developing fonts for two closely-related descendants of Brahmi formerly used in Turkestan: Tocharian and Khotanese.
Well done!

You probably know (but perhaps someone doesn't) that the Tocharian languages and Khotanese used similar writing systems, but weren't closely related languages at all.

And... I see that the famous Tocharian Fremdvokal already had the two dots in the native script (and so the romanization kept them). You learn something new every day! [tick]
clawgrip wrote:If there's anyone who knows about Tocharian, or Khotanese, or OpenType, let me know what you think.
I think you did a great job here!

As the ancestors of the Tocharians (before leaving for Turkestan) would have said: ḱléwos n̩dʰgʷʰítom to you, clawgrip! [:)]
Երկնէր երկին, երկնէր երկիր, երկնէր և ծովն ծիրանի.
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Re: Turkestan Brahmi

Post by clawgrip » Wed 09 Jul 2014, 14:26

Thank you.

For anyone who is wondering what this is all about, here is a brief rundown of the languages and the scripts.

Languages
Khotanese is one of two dialects of the Saka language, the other being Tumshuqese. They are Middle Iranian languages which were spoken in between 200 BCE and 1000 CE in the Tarim basin in what is now Xinjiang in China. Khotanese was spoken along the southwestern edge of the Taklamakan desert, while Tumshuqese was spoken along the northwestern edge.

Tocharian actually comprises three dialects, known as Tocharian A, Tocharian B, and Tocharian C. They represent a unique branch of the Indo-European family. They were spoken at leastas early as the 6th century CE and probably earlier, until the 9th centuries CE.

Both Khotanese and the Tocharian dialects have been preserved in hundreds of manuscripts, many of which remain in good to excellent condition due to the extreme dryness of the area, which helped to preserve the paper. Sources on Tumshuqese are scarce, so the language is not as well known.

Scripts
Khotanese and Tocharian scripts are very closely related Brahmic abugidas. They are also very closely related to Siddham script, from which Tibetan and 'Phagspa scripts derive, and Lepcha script, ultimately derived from the Kutila script, which descends from Gupta Brahmi.

Khotanese is a prototypical Brahmic abugida, in that it uses consonant signs that are modified with vowel diacritics to form syllables, and employs consonant stacking to create consonant clusters. It incorporated several new diacritics to indicate vowels and other phenomena the script was not otherwise able to write, including the double dot diacritic which exists in Tocharian as well. It also employs a number of standardized (and sometimes unusual) ligatures for sounds present in Khotanese but not in the script, such as <ys> for /z/ and <gy> for /ʤ/.

There is a commonly used cursive form of the Khotanese script. It is not just a simplification of the presentation form, because it includes a few elements that differ from the presentation form and actually resemble Tocharian. Most notable is the form of the consonant sign <ma>.

Tocharian functions similarly to Khotanese, with one unique exception that gives it an element of a true syllabary. The vowel transliterated as <ä> can be indicated with the double dot diacritic, as in Khotanese, but more often than not it employs the Fremdvokal ("foreign vowel") letters. This term refers to the way that Tocharian script can indicate the differing vowel not with a modification to the base consonant sign, but rather with a completely separate and unrelated CV sign. These are totally unique to Tocharian and cannot be found in Khotanese. It also employs unusual stacked aksaras and subscript independent vowel signs for various purposes. These are also completely unique to Tocharian and not found in Khotanese.

Tumshuqese script is only partially deciphered. From what I've seen of it, it looks a lot like Tocharian script with a bunch of extra letters added in. I can't give much detail.
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Re: Turkestan Brahmi

Post by clawgrip » Thu 10 Jul 2014, 01:53

Ahzoh wrote:They look so pretty, I might derive my numbers from some of them.
On that note, here are the Tocharian and Khotanese digits:

Image

Still looking through Khotanese manuscripts trying to find an example of the digit for 1000.

And here are the standard diacritics used to modify consonant signs. I've used <va> as a base because it has no irregularities and also has a Fremdvokal:

Image

As I explained above, there are two separate ways to indicate the vowel ä in Tocharian.
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Re: Turkestan Brahmi

Post by clawgrip » Sat 02 Aug 2014, 06:42

I have written and submitted to the Unicode Consortium a comprehensive preliminary proposal to encode a unified Turkestani script (including Tocharian and Khotanese). It should be reviewed at the upcoming Unicode meeting on August 5-8. Turkestani is already on the Roadmap to the SMP, so I guess there is a relatively good chance of this eventually working out. My proposal makes it clear that unification is not necessarily a good option. I am personally hoping they will elected to separate Khotanese from Tocharian, which seems like the best option anyway, since they are quite different.

Looking forward to finding out how this turns out, because I've never done anything like this before.
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Re: Brahmic Scripts

Post by clawgrip » Thu 14 Aug 2014, 02:41

They were very busy at this past meeting and did not have time to cover my proposal. It will have to wait until the next conference in November!
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Re: Brahmic Scripts

Post by clawgrip » Thu 14 Aug 2014, 02:45

I've decided to turn this thread into a general Brahmic scripts thread. I've been working on assembling a family tree of the entire Brahmic family, which is no small task. I want to compare all the scripts, as well.

I have been working on a comparison of consonants for some time now (WIP available here (part 1), here (part 2), and here (part 3)

A more concise family tree I'm working on can be seen here. This is more revised and up to date than the previous images.

Can anyone see any mistakes or additions for this? Please contribute if you can!
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Re: Brahmic Scripts

Post by Ahzoh » Thu 14 Aug 2014, 04:01

I like all those scripts you have.

I wondering if you could try your hand at creating an abugida script that's a fusion of one these two Brahmic scripts and my conscript?
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Re: Brahmic Scripts

Post by Lambuzhao » Fri 15 Aug 2014, 02:42

clawgrip wrote:I have been developing fonts for two closely-related descendants of Brahmi formerly used in Turkestan: Tocharian and Khotanese.

Image

I'm also eventually planning to submit a proposal to Unicode for Tocharian. Unicode already has a proposed range for Tocharian in its Roadmap to the SMP (They have called it 'Turkestani', a name I disagree with since it negates the possibility of Khotanese being considered its own script).

I have made a very preliminary proposal so far. It can be seen here.

I'm having some trouble developing the OpenType portion of the font. I don't know OpenType coding very well, so it is a bit hard for me, and the fact that I am doing it in an as-of-yet undefined range means that there are no presets or automatic things that many established scripts have.

If there's anyone who knows about Tocharian, or Khotanese, or OpenType, let me know what you think. Even if you don't know much about them, let me know what you think anyway! Thanks!
I cannot vouch for the Khotanese, but the Tocharian looks pretty righteous.
Could we mayhap burgle or sniggle thee a sutra or two in thy Tocharian font?
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Re: Brahmic Scripts

Post by clawgrip » Tue 27 Jan 2015, 03:06

I have written and submitted separate proposals for Tocharian and Khotanese to replace my previous proposal (available here) which proposed their encoding as a unified as Turkestani script. They didn't get around to reviewing my proposal at either of the last two meetings, but informal feedback I received suggested that there could be positive response to submitting them as separate scripts. From what I am told, it seems likely they will discuss it at the next meeting.
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Re: Brahmic Scripts

Post by Thrice Xandvii » Tue 27 Jan 2015, 06:44

I glanced through your proposal for Tocharian and Khotanese... and all I can say is: WOW! Your level of detail in explanation and font creation based on those manuscript pages is truly impressive. I don't know what your day job is, but it certainly should be doing that!
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Re: Brahmic Scripts

Post by clawgrip » Tue 27 Jan 2015, 16:00

Thanks. It was a lot of work.

Also, since I have it hanging around, here is a sample of the medium cursive Khotanese font I have made a bit of (there are more extreme forms of cursive in many manuscripts):

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Re: Brahmic Scripts

Post by clawgrip » Sat 28 Feb 2015, 00:47

My proposals for Khotanese and Tocharian were reviewed at the last UTC Meeting on Feb 2-5. I received positive feedback, so I will be revising my proposals based on some suggestions received. Looks like eventually I will get these scripts added.
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Re: Brahmic Scripts

Post by shimobaatar » Sat 28 Feb 2015, 04:34

Congratulations!
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Re: Brahmic Scripts

Post by Birdlang » Sat 28 Feb 2015, 11:29

clawgrip wrote:My proposals for Khotanese and Tocharian were reviewed at the last UTC Meeting on Feb 2-5. I received positive feedback, so I will be revising my proposals based on some suggestions received. Looks like eventually I will get these scripts added.
Cool. I like your proposal too, I am a big fan of Unicode and the languages it is encoding and the Latin and Cyrillic letters you can encode. Maybe next, Uslar's letters?
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Re: Brahmic Scripts

Post by gasyoun » Mon 31 Jul 2017, 09:24

Brahmi formerly used in Turkestan - amazing work done. I've learned Tocharian A in the past and must say - amazing work done. I'm writing a book on Devanagari and want to have your font. What should I do? Please contact me http://samskrtam.ru/marcis-gasuns/
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