Stylistic Alternates for ച്ച, ള്ള in Manjari and Chilanka fonts

The ligatures for the Malayalam conjuncts ച്ച, ള്ള have less popular variants as shown below

The second form is not seen in print but often in handwritten Malayalam. I have seen it a lot in bus boards especially at Thiruvananthapuram. There are no digital typefaces with the second style, except the Chilanka font I designed. It uses the second variant of ച്ച. I got lot of appreciation for that style variant, but also recieved request for the first form of ച്ച. I had a private copy of Chilanka with that variant and had given to whoever requested. I also recieved some requests for the second style of ള്ള. For the Manjari font too, I recieved requests for second variant.

Today I am announcing the new version of Manjary and Chilanka font, with these two forms as optional variants without the need for a different copy of a font. In a single font, you will get both these variants using the Opentype stylistic alternatives feature.

The default styles of ച്ച and ള്ള are not changed in new version. The fonts comes with an option to chose a different form.

Choosing the style for webfonts using CSS

Use the font-feature-settings CSS style to choose a style. For the element or class in the html, use it as follows:

For style 1:

font-feature-settings: "salt" 1;

For style 2:

font-feature-settings: "salt" 2;

Choosing the style variant in LibreOffice

In the place of the font name in font selector, append :salt=1 for first style, :salt=2 for second style. So you need to give Manjari Regular:salt=2 as the font name for example to get second style.

Choosing the style variant in XeLaTeX

fontspec allows to choose alterate style variants. Use Alternate=N syntax. Note that N starts from 0. So for style1, use Alternate=0 and for style2 use Alternate=2. Refer section 2.8.3 of fontspec documentation.


\manjari{\addfontfeature{Alternate=1}കാച്ചാണി, വെള്ളയമ്പലം}


This will produce the following rendering:

Choosing the style variant in Inkscape

Inkscape font selection dialog has a feature to chose font style variants. It uses the property values of CSS font-feature-settng.

In Adobe, Indesign, selecting the ligature will give stylistic alternative(s) if any to choose.

Updated fonts

Updated fonts are available in SMC’s font download microsite

3 thoughts on “Stylistic Alternates for ച്ച, ള്ള in Manjari and Chilanka fonts”

  1. ചിലങ്കഫോണ്ട്‌ ഇൻസ്റ്റാൾ ചെയ്തിട്ടും മലയാളത്തിൽ കാണാൻ സാധിക്കുന്നില്ല.ചിലങ്ക സെലെക്ട്‌ ചെയ്ത്‌ ടൈപ്പ്‌ ചെയ്യുമ്പോൾ കയ്യക്ഷരം പോലെ ഇംഗ്ലീഷ്‌ അക്ഷരങ്ങളാണ്‌ കാണിക്കുന്നത്‌.

    1. മലയാളത്തിലെഴുതു, അപ്പോൾ മലയാളത്തിൽ കാണും. ഐ എസ് എം പോലുള്ള ടൂളുകളൊന്നുമില്ലാതെ, ഇപ്പോൾ നിങ്ങളെഴുതിയ കമന്റ് ചിലങ്കയിൽ കണ്ടു നോക്കൂ

  2. I would have loved to use a screenshot, here. Anyway, will write. Using Manjari font, I tried this name: വെള്ളായണി അച്ചുകൂടം as both conjunct was present. It showed me a bug that might have gone unnoticed. When writing ച്ചു in southern style, it should have formed a new glyph with the kunippu vattam at the bottom of ച്ച. Instead, the vowel sign stood separate.

    Feature-wise, you could have included the other form of കൂ (the one that makes a semi circle towards the left of the letter) also in Manjari:salt2.

    The typographic stylisation didn’t worked for newly installed Chilanka in Mac. Please do check the uploaded font.

    PS: In Mac applications, you can apply the stylistic changes for the whole text or selected text. Select the text, you need to apply the change, Press command + t, in the resultant window, click on the gear icon, then click Typography and select the option you need.

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