Sylheti is spoken mainly in Bangladesh but there is also a large number of speakers in the London area. While there’s plenty of debate about the status of the language (is it a separate language or a dialect of Bengali?), there is little confusion about the unique script used to write Sylheti in the past.
The script is known as Sylheti Nagari or informally as Siloti Nagri although some people take offense at this latter term. Its literary history can be traced back to the latter half of the 18th century, with the earliest extant manuscript dating from 1775. Though use of the script has nearly died out, the London-based organization Sylheti Translation and Research publishes primers and reprints various Sylheti literature.
Sylheti Nagari bears many similarities to Devanagari but lacks many of its complexities — for example, there are far fewer natural conjuncts and the vowel matras are never written before a base consonant. There are several common ligatures but the Sylheti Language Kit will form these automatically wherever necessary.
Sylheti Nagari is now part of Unicode so we're adapting our previous work to use the Unicode codepoints that have finally been assigned.
The Sylheti Language Kit includes one font and several different keyboard layouts including an ISCII style driver and a Bijoy compatible adaptation. In a departure from our normal development cycle, we hope to support Sylheti Nagari by incorporating the font illustrated above which was developed by STAR (Sylheti Translation and Research). The development of the necessary Unicode intelligence is nearly complete but we still need to gain licensing rights to the font.
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