Q&A: Sanskrit Pages

Q I am writing a book in Pages, and need to quote some Sanskrit verses in their Roman transliteration. Although I can use accented Latin characters for most of this, some such as an ’n’ with a dot underneath it do not appear in that character set, at least not when using Palatino. Do I need a different font?

A Depending on which version of OS X you are using, such characters should be accessible in the Character Viewer, under either Latin or Unicode.

The letter in question is prosaically known as ‘LATIN SMALL LETTER N WITH DOT BELOW’, Unicode character U+1E47, or UTF-8 E1 B9 87, in 00001E00 Latin Extended Additional. Locate that in Character Viewer, then drag and drop it into your document; alternatively place the cursor at the location where you want the character to appear, then double-click on the correct character in the Character Viewer.

sanskfont2You can also check in the Character Viewer that this can be generated by any installed font. First select the character which you wish to check in the central pane. Then in the right lower pane, headed Font Variation, select versions until you reach the font you want; these are shown in alphabetical order of the font name.

sanskfont1Donationware Unicode Checker can do that more explicitly too. In this particular instance, it shows that in the current edition of Palatino for the Mac the character is generated and supported, although by a composite of the lower case ’n’ with a dot under it, unsurprisingly.

Updated from the original, which was first published in MacUser volume 28 issue 02, 2012.