Mongolian is used throughout Mongolia and the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region of China. The traditional vertical script has been in use in Inner Mongolia for hundreds of years but was unfortunately banned in (Outer) Mongolia during the Soviet occupation. As a result, literacy in the traditional script is still quite low in Mongolia despite an attempt to revive it. Nevertheless, it has a long and rich literary tradition and, even today, newspapers, books and other publications can be found throughout Ulaanbaatar.
Computing has come along way since our first bitmap font in the early 80s and we’re pleased to continue supporting this unique script but the nature of the Mongolian script has presented special challenges at every turn and the current attempt to support it under Unicode is no different.
Displaying Mongolian properly requires lots of advanced typographic features. It is traditionally written vertically, from left to right, which presents the biggest challenge in most computing environments. At a typographic level, the Mongolian script is similar to Arabic in structure — it too requires different letter forms depending on the character and its position in a word (isolated, initial, medial and final). Unfortunately some glitches in Apple’s advanced typography support have made our job even more difficult. Nevertheless, we are attempting to work around the biggest issues and hope to have a solution.
More news about when you can expect an OS X version of the Mongolian Language Kit will be made available once we’ve addressed the remaining problem areas. Interested parties, feeling up to the challenge, can request a copy of the kit in its current implementation.
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