Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton

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Transcribing Devanagari

Off and on over the last couple of days, my sister-in-law (who's currently visiting) and sometimes I have been decyphering/transcribing some Hindi text in Devanagari, with the aide of the Unicode (3.0) book.

It was rather fun :) Reminded me of when I was starting to learn Japanese, and I had to keep looking up every hiragana character in the table at the end of the book, until I gradually learned them one by one from looking them up so often. (Neither of us is that far with Devanagari yet, but each of us has some letters they can recognise at sight without having to look them up.)

It was also fun explaining to her the principles of how vowel diacritics replace the inherent letter, "dead" letters, why the virama shown in the Unicode text doesn't show up in the text she's looking at, and ligatures.

Oh, the ligatures. Especially the ones that don't look much like their component letters, and regularly send one or both of us on a hunt through the "example ligatures" tables in the Devanagari chapter. Fun, fun.

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