Recently, a number of old questions about typesetting South Asian languages have resurfaced in the review queue and on the front page. Many of them boil down to, “How do I write in this language with LaTeX?” and might be closed as duplicates. There’s not a lot of discussion of them here, but these are the native languages of more than a billion people. We should try to make a web search give them a complete and up-to-date answer, and one that keeps up with new developments such as HarfTeX.

In addition, we have tags for , and someone recently created . I admit I know very little about the distinction, although I note that the Unicode consortium calls Brahmic scripts a subset of Indic scripts. There are and tags, but not for most (any?) other South Asian languages. All or nearly all modern packages that can handle Devanagari can also handle Tamil.

Note that some languages, such as Sanskrit, are commonly written in multiple scripts.

So, how do we clean this situation up?

  • Burninate ?
  • Make a synonym of ?
  • Declare them different and edit questions about and a few other languages to remove and add ?
  • While we’re at it, do we want one canonical question for “How do I write Tamil/Kannada/Hindi/Sanskrit/etc. in LaTeX?” Should at least three of the eight (as I write) questions, and several more “How do I write in Tamil?” that weren’t tagged, be closed as duplicates?
  • Or just leave well enough alone?
  • 3
    These are all good questions/suggestions. I think a canonical question/answer pair would be very welcome, preferably with answers written by people who have direct knowledge of the languages and scripts in question. We also have a bunch of Bangla questions too. I think that individual language tags are still appropriate (as they are for other languages) but that the indic tag (or indic-scripts?) should be preserved too. I don't know the term brahmic in the context of scripts, so I have no strong opinion on it, but I think I would either delete it or make it a synonym of indic.
    – Alan Munn
    Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 3:02
  • 3
    @AlanMunn I agree that answer definitely would need the attention of someone fluent in each language. I might notice really obvious glitches, but I couldn’t tell you whether the output of XeLaTeX is actually correct Tamil or Malayalam. It might be a Community Wiki answer, though.
    – Davislor
    Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 4:13
  • 1
    So far as TeX is concerned, at least at a basic level, the issue is about writing systems (i.e. alphabets/abjads and fonts) not about languages. As the OP implied, there is a many-to-many mapping between South Asian languages and writing systems. (And attempting to cover all the details would be futile - the Indian Constitution enumerates 22 "scheduled languages" but the number of living languages runs into hundreds.)
    – alephzero
    Commented Jul 10, 2019 at 14:27
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    @alephzero That’s true to some extent, but TeX does have to worry about things like OpenType language tags and hyphenation patterns even at a low level. And it seems to be more common to ask about languages than scripts. We have hindi but not devanagari.
    – Davislor
    Commented Jul 10, 2019 at 16:44
  • @alephzero In practice, the same template will work for almost any LTR language, and if it doesn’t, it’s a defect in the language definition file. Load babel or polyglossia, select language, set font for that language, write using UTF-8.
    – Davislor
    Commented Jul 10, 2019 at 16:49
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    A problem with a tag like brahmic-scripts is that almost no question asker will tag the question with it — people think in terms of languages, not scripts, as you mentioned above. And even those who think of their particular language's most common script will not think of the umbrella term for all such scripts; I'd imagine most people in India aren't even aware of the term “Brahmic scripts”. Commented Jul 13, 2019 at 2:56


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