Tipitaka Network: Pali Document Framework

Velthuis Encoding - Typing Pali in emails/mailing lists/forums

Not all email, mailing list and web forum systems support the Unicode, which permits a universal encoding approach for romanised Pali characters. For this reason, users of those non-Unicode web services resort to the conventional approach, known as Velthuis Encoding. Velthuis is universal and portable, facilitating electronic exchange of Pali resources without the need for special fonts. However, it is less presentable than Unicode.

Romanised Pali uses the same letters in the Latin alphabet. However, the transliteration of Pali also introduces diacritics, inevitably, to some of the characters. Even with diacritics, inputting roman Pali characters was been made fairly simple. Velthuis encoding follows a simple rule for inputting diacritical letters with the standard keyboard: Double the vowels, Punctuate the consonants.

This is how Velthuis encoding works. A long vowel is shown as a "double" vowel. A diacritical consonant will drop the diacritical mark and adopt a punctuation mark before it. The list of roman Pali characters using diacritics is given below together with their Velthuis counterparts.

Roman diacriticVelthuis equivalentCommon alternatives
āaa 
īii 
ūuu 
.d 
.l 
.m"m 'm
.n 
ñ~n 
`n"n 'n
.t 

The above table can usually be expanded to include Sanskrit characters for those whose works extend beyond Pali literature. A sample list is given below.

Roman diacriticVelthuis equivalentCommon alternatives
.h 
.ll 
.r 
.rr 
.s 
ś`s"s 's

Discussion: To share your thoughts with us about the discussion on this page, please email the Pali group at pali@yahoogroups.com.

Issue 1: 2008.07.27 YPO - Includes Sanskrit character list
Issue 0: 2008.06.27 YPO - Initial release