|The Brahmic script and its descendants|
Clip fonts or split fonts are non-Unicode fonts that assign glyphs of Brahmic scripts, such as Devanagari, at code positions intended for glyphs of the Latin script or to produce glyphs that currently do not exist in Unicode by using its Private Use Area (PUA).
- 1 Comparison of Unicode and Clip Fonts
- 1.1 Unicode
- 1.2 Clip Fonts
- 1.3 Tables Comparing Unicode and Clip Fonts
- 1.4 Clip Fonts Interpreted as Latin Script characters
- 2 Purpose and Availability
- 3 List of Clip Fonts
- 4 Future
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Comparison of Unicode and Clip Fonts
Consonant–Vowel Clusters in Unicode
In Unicode, the ‘base form’ of consonants of Brahmic scripts are those that have an inherent vowel without any diacritics attached to them. Vowels (excluding the inherent vowel) that immediately follow a consonant are written as a diacritic. For example, a Devanagari consonant in ‘base form’ in Unicode is ‘घ’ /ɡʱə/ where the inherent vowel is ‘अ’ /ə/. If the vowel ‘आ’ /aː/ were to follow this Devanagari consonant, then the ‘ा’ diacritic would be attached to it resulting in ‘घा’. Consonants that are a part of conjunct clusters may assume a conjunct form such as ‘घ् ‘ in Devanagari.
Consonant–Consonant Clusters in Unicode
Devanagari consonants that are a part of conjunct clusters (unless it is the last consonant in a conjunct cluster, which is in its ‘base form’) are followed by the halant and zero-with joiner characters in Unicode. For example, ‘घ्य’ /ɡʱjə/ is formed by ‘घ’, followed by the halant diacritic, followed by a zero-with joiner character, and followed by the ‘base form’ of ‘य’.
Consonant–Vowel Clusters in Clip Fonts
In clip fonts the ‘base form’ of a character is the conjunct form such as ‘घ् ’ in Devanagari and ‘diacritics’ are added to indicate that the consonant is immediately followed by a vowel (including the inherent vowel). For example, a Devanagari consonant in ‘base form’ in a clip font is ‘घ् ’ /ɡʱ/. If the inherent vowel ‘अ’/ə/ were to follow this Devanagari consonant, then the ‘ा’ diacritic would be attached to it resulting in ‘घ’. If a vowel that is not the inherent ‘अ’ /ə/ such as ‘आ’ /aː/ were to follow this Devanagari consonant, then the ‘ा’ diacritic would be attached twice to it resulting in ‘घा’ with a Latin script representation of ‘Gaa’.
Consonant–Consonant Clusters in Clip Fonts
Devanagari consonants that are a part of conjunct clusters are written consecutively in their ‘base forms’ (unless it is the last consonant in a conjunct cluster, which is in its ‘inherent vowel form’). For example, ‘घ्य’ /ɡʱjə/ is formed by ‘घ् ’, followed by ‘य् ’, and followed by the ‘ा’ diacritic with a Latin script representation of ‘Gya’.
Tables Comparing Unicode and Clip Fonts
The ‘घा’ Ligature
|Consonant–Vowel Pairs||‘base form’||‘inherent vowel form’||‘inherent vowel form’ + ‘vowel diacritic’|
|Brahmic script representation
|घ||घ||घ + ा = घा|
|Unicode Code Points||U+0918||U+0918||U+0918 U+093E|
|Brahmic script representation||घ्||घ् + ा = घ||घ् + ा + ा = घा|
|Latin script representation||G||G + a = Ga||G + a + a = Gaa|
The ‘घ्य’ Ligature
‘base form of घ’
‘conjunct form of घ’
‘घ’ + ‘inherent vowel form of य’
|Brahmic script representation of Unicode||घ||घ्||घ् + य = घ्य|
|Unicode Code Points||U+0918||U+0918 U+094D U+200D||U+0918 U+094D U+200D U+092F|
|Brahmic script representation||घ्||घ्||घ् + य् + ा = घ्य|
|Latin script representation||G||G||G + y + a = Gya|
Clip Fonts Interpreted as Latin Script characters
A computer assumes that text written with a clip font is in the Latin script. Thus, when the font is changed to another Latin script font that is not a clip font, the Latin script characters on the keys that were used to type the text are displayed instead of text in the original Brahmic script. This phenomenon similar to obsolete clip art fonts like Wingdings. Therefore, the a clip font has to be available wherever text in Brahmic script desired. Thus, clip fonts may not be uniformly compatible among different computers and over the Internet like Unicode. Sometimes this weakness of clip fonts is employed as a feature, such as a kind of encryption.
Purpose and Availability
The reason for the development and popularity of Clip fonts is the perceived complexity of keyboard layout switching in common operating system setups and actual defective internationalization capabilities in older software products. English computer keyboards are very common in India. Clip fonts users input can write Hindi and other Indic languages using those English keyboards with ease. Also it is more common in India than in most other countries that people have to switch quickly between writing in any of more than two languages in as many scripts.
At least 40 commercial fonts are available using Clip font technique  and ASCII places that come with custom keyboard drivers for Indic scripts, intended to limit the number of keystrokes necessary. Since such helper software broke several times in the past with updates of the operating system, many users rather relied on higher-level hacks like clip fonts.
One of the popular clip font for devnagari is Kiran fonts KF-Kiran. It is so because, it does not require any special software and can be used in pretty old software including Windows 3.1, 95, NT, ME, 2000, 2003, XP, Vista and above  without any problems. Many users have successfully ported this True Type Font to other Operating Systems such as Mac OS, Linux, Some flavours of Unix and Android.
Clip fonts are also sometimes used for scripts that are not yet encoded in Unicode, such as the Nagari shorthand Modi. In the philosophy of Unicode, the "correct" way would be to temporarily encode these in Unicode's Private Use Area (PUA). Practical problem today users in India find is that, only English language keyboards are available in the market and so talking of any InScript keyboard is futile.
List of Clip Fonts
- Amar Hindi
- Amar Ujala
- Bharat Vani
- Kruti Dev
- New Delhi
|This section's factual accuracy is disputed. (November 2014)|
Clip fonts may fade out during the second decade of the 21st century, since, recent and coming software handles Unicode well, OpenType fonts support all the scripts and languages in question, including complex shaping, and input methods also improve.
- "U0900.pdf". unicode.org. Archived from the original on 2 December 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
- "Marathi Typing Keyboard | Kiran | Inscript | Phonetic Keyboard.html". Marathi Typing. Archived from the original on 26 June 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
- "Marathi Typing - free marathi fonts, free marathi typing softwares". Marathi Typing. 1 December 2010. Archived from the original on 30 June 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
- "Marathi Typing - free marathi fonts, free marathi typing softwares". Marathi Typing. 1 December 2010. Archived from the original on 26 June 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
- "Hindi Font - Download free Hindi Font Devlys, Kruti Dev, Mangal and many Hindi font.html". India Typing. Archived from the original on 31 October 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2014.
- "Welcome to Kiranfont.com.html". Archived from the original on 2 December 2014. Retrieved 2 December 2014.