BabelStone Fonts


BabelStone Marchen

Description

BabelStone Marchen is a Unicode font for the sMar-chen script, which was used to write the extinct Zhang-zhung language (see my blog post on the Zhang Zhung Royal Seal), and which has also been used to write the Tibetan language in the context of the Bön religion. This font is based on an experimental Tibetan-mapped font that I released in May 2007 (BabelStone Tibetan sMar-chen, no longer available).


Inscription on Temple at the gYong-drung Bon Monastery in Dolanji (Himachal Pradesh)

Photograph curtesy of Chris Hatchell


This script was added to Unicode v. 9.0 in June 2016 as the Marchen script (see N4032 and N4491 for the encoding proposals). The Marchen script in Unicode consists of 68 characters in the Marchen block in the range 11C70..11CBF: a head mark (11C70), a shad mark (11C71), thirty letters (11C72..11C8F), twenty-nine subjoined letters (11C92..11CA7 and 11CA9..11CAF), a vowel lengthener sign (11CB0), four vowel signs (11CB1..11CB4), anusvara sign (11CB5), and candrabindu sign 11CB6). Marchen is typographically a complex script, written horizontally from left to right but with vertical stacking of consonants and vowels on the Tibetan model. The encoding model for Marchen follows Tibetan, so that consonant stacks can be formed by appending one or more subjoined letter to a base letter. Vowel lengthener, vowels signs, anusvara and candrabindu may be added to a base letter or a consonant stack. The BabelStone Marchen font supports all stacks used in writing Tibetan and Zhang-zhung, but does not support arbitrary complex stacks required for Sanskrit. Unlike Tibetan, syllables are not separated with a tsheg mark, and this means that syllable boundaries may be ambiguous in some cases (for example, a letter GA may be either a suffix to the preceding syllable or a prefix to the following syllable). In ambiguous cases U+200B ZERO WIDTH SPACE may be inserted at the syllable boundary to ensure correct text processing (e.g. word selection).



Rendering

The BabelStone Marchen font supports complex shaping behaviour using OpenType features, but whether these features are applied or not depends on the operating system and the text rendering engine. Windows 10 uses the Universal Shaping Engine, which should support Marchen when it is updated for Unicode 9.0.

As of January 2017, Marchen text displayed with BabelStone Marchen font does not show any shaping behaviour in Microsoft applications (or other applications that rely on Microsoft rendering) under Windows 10. However, version 9.001 of the font has been tested with HarfBuzz, and all shaping behaviour works as expected. It is likely that this version of HarfBuzz will be included in Mozilla Firefox version 52, scheduled for release in March 2017 (see update below).

In order to test BabelStone Marchen under HarfBuzz on Windows, please follow these steps:

  1. Download and unzip harfbuzz-1.3.4-win32.zip (or latest version).
  2. Copy BabelStoneMarchen.ttf and MarchenTest.txt to the directory containing the downloaded HarfBuzz files.
  3. Open a command prompt in the directory containing the downloaded HarBuzz files.
  4. Enter the following command: type MarchenTest.txt | hb-view.exe BabelStoneMarchen.ttf --output-format=png --output-file=MarchenTest.png
  5. The file MarchenTest.png should be created in the directory, and should look like this.

As of April 2017, Marchen is supported in both Firefox and Chrome. Please load this test file if you want to test Marchen rendering in your browser. If you can see dotted circles then the Marchen text is not rendered correctly.



Samples

BabelStone Marchen (48 points)



Character Repertoire

The tables below render each character in the BabelStone Marchen font (excluding Basic Latin characters), either using the font installed on your local machine or using a WOFF font if the font is not installed on your local machine.


Marchen [11C70..11CBF]

Code Point Character Name Glyph
U+11C70 MARCHEN HEAD MARK

𑱰

U+11C71 MARCHEN MARK SHAD

𑱱

U+11C72 MARCHEN LETTER KA

𑱲

U+11C73 MARCHEN LETTER KHA

𑱳

U+11C74 MARCHEN LETTER GA

𑱴

U+11C75 MARCHEN LETTER NGA

𑱵

U+11C76 MARCHEN LETTER CA

𑱶

U+11C77 MARCHEN LETTER CHA

𑱷

U+11C78 MARCHEN LETTER JA

𑱸

U+11C79 MARCHEN LETTER NYA

𑱹

U+11C7A MARCHEN LETTER TA

𑱺

U+11C7B MARCHEN LETTER THA

𑱻

U+11C7C MARCHEN LETTER DA

𑱼

U+11C7D MARCHEN LETTER NA

𑱽

U+11C7E MARCHEN LETTER PA

𑱾

U+11C7F MARCHEN LETTER PHA

𑱿

U+11C80 MARCHEN LETTER BA

𑲀

U+11C81 MARCHEN LETTER MA

𑲁

U+11C82 MARCHEN LETTER TSA

𑲂

U+11C83 MARCHEN LETTER TSHA

𑲃

U+11C84 MARCHEN LETTER DZA

𑲄

U+11C85 MARCHEN LETTER WA

𑲅

U+11C86 MARCHEN LETTER ZHA

𑲆

U+11C87 MARCHEN LETTER ZA

𑲇

U+11C88 MARCHEN LETTER -A

𑲈

U+11C89 MARCHEN LETTER YA

𑲉

U+11C8A MARCHEN LETTER RA

𑲊

U+11C8B MARCHEN LETTER LA

𑲋

U+11C8C MARCHEN LETTER SHA

𑲌

U+11C8D MARCHEN LETTER SA

𑲍

U+11C8E MARCHEN LETTER HA

𑲎

U+11C8F MARCHEN LETTER A

𑲏

U+11C92 MARCHEN SUBJOINED LETTER KA

𑲒

U+11C93 MARCHEN SUBJOINED LETTER KHA

𑲓

U+11C94 MARCHEN SUBJOINED LETTER GA

𑲔

U+11C95 MARCHEN SUBJOINED LETTER NGA

𑲕

U+11C96 MARCHEN SUBJOINED LETTER CA

𑲖

U+11C97 MARCHEN SUBJOINED LETTER CHA

𑲗

U+11C98 MARCHEN SUBJOINED LETTER JA

𑲘

U+11C99 MARCHEN SUBJOINED LETTER NYA

𑲙

U+11C9A MARCHEN SUBJOINED LETTER TA

𑲚

U+11C9B MARCHEN SUBJOINED LETTER THA

𑲛

U+11C9C MARCHEN SUBJOINED LETTER DA

𑲜

U+11C9D MARCHEN SUBJOINED LETTER NA

𑲝

U+11C9E MARCHEN SUBJOINED LETTER PA

𑲞

U+11C9F MARCHEN SUBJOINED LETTER PHA

𑲟

U+11CA0 MARCHEN SUBJOINED LETTER BA

𑲠

U+11CA1 MARCHEN SUBJOINED LETTER MA

𑲡

U+11CA2 MARCHEN SUBJOINED LETTER TSA

𑲢

U+11CA3 MARCHEN SUBJOINED LETTER TSHA

𑲣

U+11CA4 MARCHEN SUBJOINED LETTER DZA

𑲤

U+11CA5 MARCHEN SUBJOINED LETTER WA

𑲥

U+11CA6 MARCHEN SUBJOINED LETTER ZHA

𑲦

U+11CA7 MARCHEN SUBJOINED LETTER ZA

𑲧

U+11CA9 MARCHEN SUBJOINED LETTER YA

𑲩

U+11CAA MARCHEN SUBJOINED LETTER RA

𑲪

U+11CAB MARCHEN SUBJOINED LETTER LA

𑲫

U+11CAC MARCHEN SUBJOINED LETTER SHA

𑲬

U+11CAD MARCHEN SUBJOINED LETTER SA

𑲭

U+11CAE MARCHEN SUBJOINED LETTER HA

𑲮

U+11CAF MARCHEN SUBJOINED LETTER A

𑲯

U+11CB0 MARCHEN VOWEL SIGN AA

𑲰

U+11CB1 MARCHEN VOWEL SIGN I

𑲱

U+11CB2 MARCHEN VOWEL SIGN U

𑲲

U+11CB3 MARCHEN VOWEL SIGN E

𑲳

U+11CB4 MARCHEN VOWEL SIGN O

𑲴

U+11CB5 MARCHEN SIGN ANUSVARA

𑲵

U+11CB6 MARCHEN SIGN CANDRABINDU

𑲶


Tibetan [0F00..0FFF]

Code Point Character Name Glyph
U+0FD5 RIGHT-FACING SVASTI SIGN

U+0FD6 LEFT-FACING SVASTI SIGN

U+0FD7 RIGHT-FACING SVASTI SIGN WITH DOTS

U+0FD8 LEFT-FACING SVASTI SIGN WITH DOTS



OpenType Features

[VOLT project file]


Script Language Features Explanation
Marchen <marc> Default <dflt> Above-base Mark Positioning <abvm> For Anusvara (U+11CB5) and Candrabindu (U+11CB6)
Above-base Substitutions <abvs> For vowel signs E (U+11CB3) and O (U+11CB4)
Below-base Substitutions <blws> For subjoined letters and for vowel sign U (U+11CB2)
Pre-base Substitutions <pres> For vowel sign I (U+11CB1)
Post-base Substitutions <psts> For Subjoined Ya (U+11CA9)


Version History

Font Version Date Notes
BabelStone Marchen 9.000 2017-01-01 Initial release, supporting Unicode 9.0. At time of release, shaping behaviour does not work with Microsoft applications under Windows 10.
BabelStone Marchen 9.001 2017-01-05 OpenType features modified to work correctly with HarfBuzz v. 1.3.4.


Download

BabelStone Marchen is licensed under the SIL Open Font License 1.1, which means you are free to use it for personal or commercial purposes, and to redistribute it by itself or as part of a free or commercial software package, just as long as you do not sell the font on its own. The license also allows you to modify the font in any way you like, as long as the modified font does not use "BabelStone" in its name. Please read the license for details.




BabelStone Fonts