July 02, 2007

Another Devanagari Rendering Problem

Wikipedia isn't the only organization to have trouble with the rendering of Devanagari. LL reader Partha Pratim Talukdar received the airline safety card shown below on a British Airways flight. The Hindi text in the antepenultimate line has /vi/ rendered incorrectly in the word विमान /vima:n/ "airplane".

Airline safety card with Erroneous rendering of Hindi  /vi/
[click to enlarge]

Indeed, that isn't the only problem with the Hindi on this card. The third word, /surakʂa:/ "safety", contains a cluster that is normally rendered by a ligature, that is, by an "idiomatic" combination. In the security card, it is spelled out as a /k/ followed by an /ʂ/, with the default vowel following the /k/ suppressed by the diacritic known as a halant, the little thingie hanging off the lower right edge of the /k/. Even the halant is odd-looking - they are usually more-or-less straight, not curved like this.

The Hindi word Suraksha
Posted by Bill Poser at July 2, 2007 10:19 PM