Malayalam: ml-puthiya, ml-pazhaya

Cibu Johny (സിബു) cibu at
Tue Oct 4 22:59:53 CEST 2016

Hi Michael, Santhosh,

I thought would be a
definite reference. Or, is it that, it is required in English? That would
means, somebody has to translate the whole 1971 govt order to English.

Also, there is a clear difference in the number and the type of ligatures
supported in the fonts that follow traditional orthography Vs reformed
orthography. For example, when the reformed orthography fonts like Rachana,
Meera etc. that Santhosh has listed support close to 1000 glyphs each, the
reformed script fonts like Raghu Malayalam, Noto Sans Malayalam, Manorama
etc would support close to 250 glyphs. The distinction between them is very
clear and there is no continuum between these two groups of fonts.

I agree with Santhosh that fonts for each orthography are being created and
used by publishing industry today. However, that does not mean that the
distinction between the two have disappeared or got watered down.


From: Michael Everson <everson at>
> Date: 2016-09-09 12:51 GMT+02:00
> Subject: Re: Malayalam: ml-puthiya, ml-pazhaya
> To: Santhosh Thottingal <santhosh.thottingal at>
> Cc: Sascha Brawer <sascha at>, ietf-languages at
> If these are going to be given subtags, a robust reference source for each
> orthography would be preferable.
> > On 26 Aug 2016, at 10:11, Santhosh Thottingal <
> santhosh.thottingal at> wrote:
> >
> >
> >
> > On Thu, Aug 25, 2016 at 7:11 PM Sascha Brawer <sascha at> wrote:
> > According to my contact, this reform was a continuum; the Kerala
> government order of 1971 did not immediately affect the common practice.
> Instead, the transition from traditional to reformed has happened over the
> period of 20-30 years. There is a lot of variation in the specifics for any
> year one could pick in the last century.
> >
> > Again according to my contact, there is a common overall understanding
> among Malayalam speakers that the orthography of the language has moved
> from ‘traditional’ to ‘reformed.’ However, my contact did not know of an
> authoritative reference that would describe this transition in more detail.
> >
> >
> > This is true, there is no defnition or  authoritative reference about
> this differences. And that is my concern. Given a set of printed samples
> from say, todays news paper in Malayalam,  one cannot say this is
> 'new'(puthiya) or this is 'old'(pazhaya) [1]. The contemporary Malayalam
> usage is a mixed one. It borrows some reformation from 1971 order and some
> from the practices that existed before.
> >
> > The reason for mixed mode is because the main intention behind the 1971
> reformation was to get Malayalam 'usable' with then type writers and
> composing machines[2]. As technology progressed and when these limitations
> vanished, nothing stopped people from using the types similar to what they
> will write using pen on paper. The modern opentype technology completely
> removed this limitation and many modern and famous typefaces of Malayalam
> uses this 'old'/ml-pazhaya style[3].
> >
> > So defining two variants ml-puthiya, ml-pazhaya without a clear way to
> distinguish one from another and having a wide range of ununamed variants
> exist, is concerning.
> >
> > - Santhosh Thottingal
> >
> > [1]. Here is  printed copies of two news papers from today:
> Mathrubhumi, Malayala manorama, The first one follows mainly one concept
> from reformation split u sign(ു) while the second follows another subset of
> ideas from reformation.
> > [2]  First
> paragraph
> > [3] For example, fonts like Meera, Rachana, AnjaliOldLipi, Dyuthi,
> Manjari, Chilanka, Karumpi, Keraleeyam, Uroob all follows the style that
> existed before 1971 reformation.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the Ietf-languages mailing list