An accurate Vietnamese alphabet?

James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,970
edited January 2017 in Technique and Theory
I’m looking for an accurate list of letters in the Vietnamese alphabet. The list built into Glyphs seems to be incomplete, as do Adobe’s fonts. For example, trying to set Genesis with fonts that support Vietnamese often results in ḿ ṇ ṛ missing. Online lists of the Vietnamese alphabet are often missing these and other letters, like ø. The Scriptsource list of characters for Vietnamese fonts contains many characters not in Vietnamese because it includes complete codepages containing characters used in Vietnam. Is there a reliable list somewhere? Are ḿ ṇ ṛ and ø just errors in old text?


  • How about the old Tiro Vietnamese encodings from Fontlab on Steroids? Are they good? 
  • I’m not sure if ḿ ṇ ṛ ø are to be considered Vietnamese letters. In German é can occur in some loanword (Café), yet it does not make the particular character a German letter.
    I always found the Unicode table quite helpful. Be cautious with text bits for testing found online, there may be wrong/strange encodings for diacritics in it.
    However, if you want to be on the very safe side with *all possible* Latin characters, your scope of choice probably narrows down to Arial Unicode and, last exit, Andron Mega.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,973
    Yes, Igor has it right, I think, for the standard modern orthography.

    Unicode added two abandoned characters for Middle Vietnamese fairly recently:
    but I don't think ḿ ṇ ṛ and ø were ever used.

    James, what is the source of the Genesis text? It's possibly some kind of non-standard encoding in which those character codepoints were hijacked.
  • I got the Vietnamese Genesis text from Murton Systems. It seems like they got it from I’m not sure what the original source is. This text is all over the internet.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,973
    edited January 2017
    This version of the Vietnamese Bible text looks as I would expect.

    Yeah, that Murton Systems Bible text is definitely not Vietnamese Unicode. Maybe it's some 8-bit Vietnamese codepage being interpreted as ANSI?

    Google Translate has a great time with the Murton text  :#

  • Andreas StötznerAndreas Stötzner Posts: 770
    edited January 2017
    I’m not sure wether this is relevant for Bible texts but anyhow, make sure you include the dong sign, for complete language support.
  • Kent LewKent Lew Posts: 905
    I’m not saying it shouldn’t be included in a font that claims support, but . . . I am told that the ₫ symbol is rarely, if ever, actually used in Vietnamese communities. It’s hard to find an example in the wild. More often a simple đ or Đ abbreviation is used.
  • I’m not sure how frequently it is used but I would wish to be assured that a user of my Vietnamese font would not be left with a frustration, just in case. The dong glyph is a very simple components operation, nothing to get grey hair about.
    I found an example like this in the wild, rather quickly:

  • Kent LewKent Lew Posts: 905
    Yes, it can be found. But most such examples tend not to be community-based use. That’s all. I’m not arguing that it should not be included in a font. Just adding a qualifier on the notion of “language support.”

    And I, too, do not design it as a component.
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