help with monosyllabic script

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help with monosyllabic script

Post by newbe » Thu Jul 15, 2004 3:51 pm

:) Hi all!

I am trying to create a font for a specific alphabet. The thing is, it is monosyllabic, and the characters just don't follow each other always the same way

More precisely:

there are 4 families of consonants (say family 1, 2, 3, 4), and of course vowels.

More precisely, vowels exist in 6 forms.

1 to combine with each consonant family, one as stand-alone, and one when following another vowel

Things are even a little more complicated:

family 1 is the "regular form" (left->right), thus vowels should take form 1, when combined with these.

family2 is obtained from a 180° rotation (vowels in form 2 follow the same rule).

then family 3 is the x-axis symmetric of family 1, and finaly family 4 its rotation (180°).

m, n, r, l change shapes when preceding/following other consonants

Even more precisions: say you want to write the word: "Kola".
In this alphabet, it would be written in the form of the syllabs: Ko+la.
->ko= a ligature of k+o (left->right)

->la= a ligature of l + a (right->left).
nb: after a vowel, there must be a space, since the language consists with syllabs/sounds only.

Besides are special characters (which represent sounds, like: "sh"; "kt", etc..., and consonantic groups, such as mb, or ng, which are specific characters/glyphs too)

So the big question is, how am I supposed to do that?

Where do I specify Anchoring points? According to you, what would be the most appropriate character encoding?

I am totally new to encoding systems, so I don't know much about it, or about font generation.

Other question: I heard that there was a way to create a font from my hand-writting.
My question is: would the program be able to correctly interpret it?

If anybody would have time to help me with this, that would be great!! And would shure save me some times... :cry:

Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: help with monosyllabic script

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Jul 15, 2004 6:06 pm

Take a look at other monosyllabic languages like Myanmar to see how they work.

From what you say, you may need to use Open Type features (not supported by Font Creator) to create ligatures, but perhaps you can find other ways without that added complexity.

The anchor point is at the origin in the glyph edit window. Glyphs can be to the left of the anchor point to combine with preceding glyphs and have zero width — as ¨ combines with a to produce ä for example.

If your proposed font is supported by the Unicode standard that might be the most appropriate encoding, but not if this font is intended for use on older Operating Systems like Windows 95. I think Windows 98SE was the first to offer any Unicode Support. Windowx XP is recommended.

The old Windows encoding was ANSI, which offers a total of 256 code points (including many control characters that cannot be used for glyphs). The Unicode system uses double-byte encoding, which supports 65,536 code points (and more). Most, but not all languages are supported. If you tell us what your script is, we might be able to find out if it is supported. If so that greatly simplifies the encoding problem.

To create fonts from handwriting one just scans it and imports into Font Creator, which will trace the outline and create the glyph. Then you need to tidy up, adjust font metrics (width and position), and map the character to a suitable code point.

Finally, you need to select your Windows keyboard language, and map your keyboard in Word to type these Unicode characters. This raises another question of what keyboard most users of this script will have for normal use.
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Post by newbe » Thu Jul 15, 2004 10:37 pm

Thanks for your reply, I found some very useful information.
It seems that I will acyually need OpenType features (contextual substitution), or a work-around (couldn't find any at this time :) )

I took a look at the link on unicode standards, and found that all characters are supported, but accross several fonts... (I don't really know if that information matters or not...).

The script I am trying to create is named Mandombe.
I didn't find any reference to it on the unicode website.. (should I try to make up a script from several ones?).

Also I am looking at the mayanmar script, and trying to find-out exactly how it works. (Not that easy at this time).

Some features are interesting, but some are not used by this one. I found a U-chan one, which has some other interesting features too, (termination marks, and how to place them, but still can't find how to substitute a character depending on which one follows/precedes...).
The anchor point is at the origin in the glyph edit window. Glyphs can be to the left of the anchor point to combine with preceding glyphs and have zero width — as ¨ combines with a to produce ä for example.
That's a good step, thank you. The anchoring problem is now solved for consonants. The biggest problem is now for vowels, and substitution:
I have tthought of trying to use diacritic marks such as ^ and replace them with the termination marks in my script, but they are not enough.
I will n,ow try to use something else:
some characters, such as &, ^, µ * are not used in this script or appear twice. I will try to replace them with some of the characters (such as the vowels in their termination forms).

If that works fine, the only thing I will have to do then is find a workaround for the vowel substitution when used with different consonant families. since there are 4 families, and 5 vowels (y is considered a consonant), it means I would have to find 20 more unused positions on the keyboard to use the same workaround...)...

The handwritting solution wouldn't seem to be so helpful either... It seems to handle every glyph on a one per one basis, whil I was hoping that perhaps, by entering sentences, it would be able to interpret the writing system so I don't have to specify the rule myself.

Anothe rquestion: is there a way to specify the characters their names (and link them to corresponding glyphs, say in bm, or eps format) , and the rules manually in a file, so that one can just pass the file to the program to interpret it?

Thanks for your help, it is helping a lot (well I feel a little bit less lost than a few hours ago, so it is a good step, even thouh I am not finished yet...)!

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