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I am trying to write a document including Manchu script on a Mac. Manchu is written with the Mongolian alphabet with the addition of some diacritics, but the extra diacritics are included in standard Mongolian fonts included in Mac OS. Manchu/Mongolian script functions similar to Arabic script, in that the letters are connected and their shape varies depending on their position within a word.

However, Mac OS is unable to input or even display Manchu/Mongolian properly, because it cannot handle the different forms that letters should take depending on their position within the word (isolated, initial, medial, or final).

PCs can now both input and display Manchu/Mongolian.

Now I'm wondering if it's possible to enter Manchu/Mongolian in LaTeX (say, by typing the UNICODE numbers of the letters), and have the typesetter produce proper script?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

in general you can use the Unicode numbers or the corresponding letters:

\setmainfont{圈点满文印刷体}% the font name of manchu.ttf}




enter image description here

You hvae to use platex, lualatex or omega to write it in the correct direction from top to bottom.

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You can “hack” Mongolian top to buttom, left to right direction in XeTeX by using a combination of Vertical=RotatedGlyphs font feature, \XeTeXupwardsmode and box rotation with graphicx – Khaled Hosny Dec 17 '12 at 2:23
Using platex makes more sense – Herbert Dec 17 '12 at 6:46
Of course, but I don’t know how complete are pTeX’s OpenType layout capabilities (if there are any). – Khaled Hosny Dec 17 '12 at 7:23
sorry, I meant uplatex the unicode variant which can handle otf fonts – Herbert Dec 17 '12 at 9:36
@Herbert Thanks! But when I use your minimal example, I get an error message and there is no output. FontBook in Mac told me there might be an issue with the CJK name of the font, but I've tried to load it using both the PostScript name and the path + filename as well, still with no luck. Do you know what might be the problem? I have the fontspec package installed and I'm using it successfully elsewhere. – Mårten Dec 17 '12 at 17:56

A minimal example as to demonstrate Khaled Hosny’s point of hacking Manchu/Mongolian into top-to-bottom, left-to-right:

% !TEX TS-program = xelatex
Line above\\% to demonstrate that the lines are being stacked as normal
\XeTeXupwardsmode1\\% successive lines will be stacked upwards instead of downwards
\begin{minipage}{4em}% this will be the vertical length of the Mongolian section
{\dcw% Font: Daicing White
1 ᠮᠠᠨᠵᡠ ᡤᡳᠰᡠᠨ\\% direct Unicode input of Manchu letters
2 ᠮᠠᠨᠵᡠ ᡤᡳᠰᡠᠨ
}% End font
}% End rotatebox

Line underneath

This yields the following:

Manchu text between sections of English text

Daicing White’s letters are already rotated, therefore there is no need to use the Vertical=RotatedGlyphs font feature here.

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