News Article

Annapurna SIL, a new font for Devanagari script

(August 2011) SIL’s Non-Roman Script Initiative (NRSI) is pleased to announce the release of the Annapurna SIL Regular and Annapurna SIL Bold fonts.

Named for a section of the Himalayas in North Central Nepal, Annapurna SIL is a font for the Devanagari script, which is used to write more than 120 Indo-Aryan languages of South Asia. Annapurna SIL provides a Unicode-based font family with support for these diverse languages. The calligraphic design reflects the familiar stroke contrast of a broad pen nib, which is commonly used for handwriting Devanagari. The font was designed to be highly readable, reasonably compact and visually attractive, suitable for producing high-quality publications.

Alternate characters available in Annapurna SIL Alternate characters available in Annapurna SIL

The character repertoire includes Devanagari characters through Unicode 5.1 and Latin (codepage 1252) characters as well as the legacy Rupee Sign (U+20A8) and the new Indian Rupee Sign (U+20B9) from the Currency Symbols block. A selection of characters from the General Punctuation block, such as various-sized spaces, are also supported. Characters from Unicode versions 5.2 and 6.0 are currently in the design stage and will be available in a future release.

The Annapurna SIL fonts make use of state-of-the-art OpenType® and Graphite font technologies to provide accurate typography, such as the need to accurately position combining marks, form conjuncts and provide Graphite features and OpenType Stylistic Sets for variant glyphs. All of these features are extensively documented on the Annapurna SIL page, where the font is available for free download.

Digital implementation for writing systems is a matter of increasing importance for language development. Computer adaptation of non-Roman fonts is a powerful tool for the production of written materials, such as primers for literacy. Without the ability to enter text in a given script onto a computer, it is impossible to use that writing system for applications such as word processing and the internet. The development of these fonts opens the door to the benefits of new technology, making information and communications more widely available. A community’s ability to use their local language in these practical ways can be a factor in the continued vitality of that language. SIL’s Non-Roman Script Initiative is working to meet this need in cooperation with partners.

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