Sanskrit : Summary
In this lesson, we have seen the aksharas of Sanskrit. The vowels and consonants
were introduced independently. The concept of conjunct characters was also
discussed and examples of the writing methods for conjuncts were shown.
The student should practice writing the aksharas and slowly develop the skills
to identify the aksharas and thus read short sentences.
Typesetting Devanagari is a complex job involving careful selection of typefaces
for each of the conjuncts. The form of writing the consonants one below the
other was not favoured for conjuncts with more than two consonants since
this would increase the vertical height of the conjunct. When it was indeed
done, the individual consonants had to be reduced in size to such an extent
that in some cases intelligiblity became a problem.
We must mention here the contributions from Franz Velthuis, Dominik Wujastyk
and more recently Wikner, who have made available a fine facility to print
Devanagari through Tex, a typesetting Program developed by Prof. Knuth. Much
of the work related to transliterated forms of Devanagari input (such as
ITRANS) is credited to their work. In particular, Wikner has designed nearly
a thousand conjuncts. The software relating to this is usually seen in the
archives for Tex. Interested readers may take a look at Wikner's conjuncts
by printing the document sktdoc.600ps available from ftp://ftp.nacdh4.nac.ac.za/wikner/
[Note: The FTP site appeared to be down at the time this document was
converted to Unicode.]
The normal practice in India (during the past 50 years or so) has been to
use the half form as well the one below the other form effectively so as
not to increase the vertical height of the character. The choice of combining
the half forms with vertically arranged combinations was often exercised
by the typesetter and so it is not unusual to find different representations
for the same conjunct.
Continue to exercise.
Back to Sanskrit contents.
site (IIT Madras) completed by Walter Stanish. Hosted at pratyeka.