Unicode: Chillu + Consonant => Conjunct ?

Here we discuss the pitfalls in allowing Malayalam Chillu letters to form conjunct with a subsequent consonant. Also suggests the specific scenarios where it should be allowed.

Conventions used

  • Pronunciations are transliterated to Latin and written inside forward slashes (//).
  • Unicode code points for characters used in this document:

DDA – U+0D22

NNA – U+0D23

RRA – U+0D31

Virama – U+0D4D


We are looking at the issues of writing a text in an old orthography font and reading it in new orthography and vice versa. Specifically, we are looking at the possibility of any Chillu-C1 + C2 sequence forming conjuncts in this mixed context.

There is no General rule for conjunct formation

Argument is through examples:

Uniqueness Rule Violation

I agree that there could be a Chillu-conjunct formation rule for a proper subset of Chillu-C1 + C2 permutations. Even then, due to Uniqueness Rule, we cannot allow Chillu-C1 + C2 and C1 + VIRAMA + C2 forming same conjunct.

This has a side effect: Many words like /alpam/ can potentially have two spellings - one with chillu-LA ( )and other with /lpa/ conjunct ( ). Both of these spellings are used synonymously in contemporary Malayalam text. This is very similar to two spellings of 'colour' ('color' is the corresponding American spelling). A British English font should not try to convert 'color' to 'colour'. It should remain as intended by the author. Same should be the case with two spellings of /alpam/ in Malayalam. It should be displayed as intended by the author(s) of the text.

So, only C1 + VIRAMA + C2 forms the conjunct.


Please see discussions on Malayalam eyelash-repha and on /nta/.

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