K P Rao grapples with another font to read Devanagari in Kannada

The pioneer who standardised Kannada keyboard and modified the existing English keyboard to suit the needs of the Kannada language, K P Rao is into another innovative font design that helps to read text in Devanagari script (Konkani or Sanskrit) on internet to be read in Kannada without changing the code.

Speaking to mediapersons, Rao stressed that as the Devanagari Unicode is enhanced, there is provision to represent all special sounds of Indian languages. He added that the concept is that if Unicode data is available in one script, it is possible to read it in another script without altering the code, but only changing the character shapes and implementing from within the rules for combining the characters.

Devam and V-Aditi

Asserting that the innovation is first of its kind in the world, Rao said the programme is been implanted in two Devanagiri fonts, which is named as ‘Devam’ for reading in Kannada and ‘V-Aditi’ for reading in phonetic transliteration scheme used by Rev Kittel. ‘V-Aditi’ is the font that has been discovered by his grand daughter Aditi Baglodi based on the findings of Rao. Devam is nothing but a Devanagari font with Kannada characters and V-Aditi is the Devanagari font with English characters. The original text will be used as it is.

The fonts are not dumb these days unlike earlier. The fonts are intelligent, he chuckles.

Non-script problem

He said language usually is script independent and is most seen in the minor languages like Tulu, Konkani and Kodava. These languages do not have script of their own and may be written in Kannada, Devanagari or Malayalam. Technically this is not a new problem, as many of the Indian languages were written in multiple scripts. The best example would be, Sanskrit written in Devanagari, Kannada, Bengali, Oriya, Malayalam or any other Indian script. This is possible because all scripts mentioned are capable or representing almost all sounds that are available in Sanskrit, he explained.

However, reading the same text written in one script requires total knowledge and familiarity of the language though the content remains the same. For example, a Konkani article in Kannada script can not be read by a person without the knowledge of the script, he added.

‘Devam’ and ‘V-Aditi’ fonts will allow an access to the literature and cultural content of the minor language community by all people who are accustomed to reading in any specific script, for example the same text may be read in Malayalam, Kannada, Telugu, Devanagari, English as the users’ choice, Rao added.

The 75-year-old Rao said he has been working into the invention since 30 to 35 years. To invent K P Rao keyboard layout, he had taken 30 years. “I have worked for scripting all through my discoveries and started off with monotype characters. I had developed the Sediyapu software, wherein the glyphs were simplified. The entire set of Kannada characters could be printed using 26 alphabet keys on the English keyboard,” he said.

He said his grand daughter Aditi developed a simple and dumb font in the beginning and named it as Vadiraja. It is now modified as intelligent font and renamed as V-Aditi. Meanwhile Aditi attributed all the credit for her discovery to her grandfather.

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