10

I do quite a lot of work with Sanskrit and linguistics. For the Sanskrit (Devanagari letters) I used fontspec and render with xelatex. This, as far as I can tell, is the only way to go. For the linguistics, I use TIPA and would be loathe to give it up if only for ease of input.

Another thing that TIPA is very good for, though, is composing characters with multiple accents. The TIPA manual itself gives, as an example \textipa{\’{\"{\u*{e}}}}. It is extremely difficult to replicate this satisfactorily with plain ol' Unicode and system fonts.

Now, when transliterating Vedic Sanskrit (which I am currently trying to do) we often have to place an acute accent over a macron over a letter, for example:

enter image description here

Such a combination of accents is famously difficult to come by. The use of the two Unicode combining diacritical marks ́ (U+0301) and ̄ (U+0304) rarely produces good results. Unicode only contains the pre-composed character ḗ, it has not a, i, o, or u and nor is it ever likely to, as Unicode deprecates such pre-composed characters these days, I believe.

In the old days, I was able to produce the character above quite easily, using the answer to this question.

I have, however, got a new computer and, therefore, a new LaTeX "install". Today I walked into a whole new world of problems, when I received the error message:

(/usr/share/texlive/texmf-dist/tex/latex/metalogo/metalogo.sty)
(/usr/share/texmf/tex/latex/tipa/tipa.sty
(/usr/share/texlive/texmf-dist/tex/latex/base/fontenc.sty
(/usr/share/texmf/tex/latex/tipa/t3enc.def)
(/usr/share/texlive/texmf-dist/tex/latex/euenc/eu1enc.def))

! LaTeX Error: Command \sups already defined.
               Or name \end... illegal, see p.192 of the manual.

See the LaTeX manual or LaTeX Companion for explanation.
Type  H <return>  for immediate help.
 ...

l.478   \lower.8ex\hbox{\super{#2}}}{#1}}}`

I know that TIPA and fontspec aren't the best of friends, but even if there is a way around the accent problem (which prompted this question), I would still like to write documents with both of them, as TIPA is so good for IPA input and has a Computer Modern like font. It also supports all the different styles and families. Also, many of my old documents use both and if I ever need to recompile them, I shall have to make TIPA and fontspec work.

Anyway, back to the specific problem of today, here is the MWE that's causing problems:

\documentclass[12pt]{article}
\pagestyle{plain}
\usepackage[margin=1.8cm]{geometry}
\geometry{a4paper}
\usepackage[parfill]{parskip}
\usepackage{amsmath}
\usepackage{amssymb}
\usepackage{fontspec,xltxtra}
\newfontfamily{\SA}[Script=Devanagari]{Chandas}
\usepackage{tipa}
\newcommand{\acm}[1]{\begin{IPA}\'{\={#1}}\end{IPA}}

\AtBeginDocument{
\renewcommand\textipa[2][r]{{\fontfamily{cm#1}\tipaencoding #2}}
}
\renewenvironment{IPA}[1][r]{\fontfamily{cm#1}\tipaencoding}{}

\begin{document}

  {\SA अग्ने॒ यं य॒ज्ञम॑ध्व॒रं वि॒श्वत॑\XeTeXglyph49{} परि॒भूरसि॑ । \\
  स इद्दे॒वेषु॑ गच्छति ॥ ४ ॥}

  \begin{enumerate}

    \setcounter{enumi}{3}

    \item
    \'{A}gne y\'{a}\d{m} yaj\~{n}\'{a}m adhvar\'{a}\d{m}
    vi\'{s}v\'{a}ta\d{h} paribh\acm{u}r \'{a}si; \\
    S\'{a} \'{i}d dev\'{e}\d{s}u gacchati.

  \end{enumerate}

\end{document}

Here we have the Sanskrit, as it should be, without the TIPA stuff:

\documentclass[12pt]{article}
\pagestyle{plain}
\usepackage[margin=1.8cm]{geometry}
\geometry{a4paper}
\usepackage[parfill]{parskip}
\usepackage{amsmath}
\usepackage{amssymb}
\usepackage{fontspec,xltxtra}
\newfontfamily{\SA}[Script=Devanagari]{Chandas}

\begin{document}

  {\SA अग्ने॒ यं य॒ज्ञम॑ध्व॒रं वि॒श्वत॑\XeTeXglyph49{} परि॒भूरसि॑ । \\
  स इद्दे॒वेषु॑ गच्छति ॥ ४ ॥}

\end{document}

enter image description here

And here we have the transliteration, as it should be, without the Sanskrit stuff:

\documentclass[12pt]{article}
\pagestyle{plain}
\usepackage[margin=1.8cm]{geometry}
\geometry{a4paper}
\usepackage[parfill]{parskip}
\usepackage{amsmath}
\usepackage{amssymb}
\usepackage{tipa}
\newcommand{\acm}[1]{\begin{IPA}\'{\={#1}}\end{IPA}}

\AtBeginDocument{
\renewcommand\textipa[2][r]{{\fontfamily{cm#1}\tipaencoding #2}}
}
\renewenvironment{IPA}[1][r]{\fontfamily{cm#1}\tipaencoding}{}

\begin{document}

  \begin{enumerate}

    \setcounter{enumi}{3}

    \item
    \'{A}gne y\'{a}\d{m} yaj\~{n}\'{a}m adhvar\'{a}\d{m}
    vi\'{s}v\'{a}ta\d{h} paribh\acm{u}r \'{a}si; \\
    S\'{a} \'{i}d dev\'{e}\d{s}u gacchati.

  \end{enumerate}

\end{document}

enter image description here

Can I have my cake and eat it?

As you can tell, this question was prompted by a specific problem producing a specific character. I thought it would be illuminating to include this context; but my problem is really a lot broader than that. For reasons unknown to me, TIPA will no longer play nice with fontspec - when once it worked so well. Does anybody know what's causing the problem and - more importantly to me - what the solution is?


If instead, per David Carlisle's suggestion, I switch the order of TIPA and fontspec and load TIPA first, the rendering process gets this far:

(/usr/share/texlive/texmf-dist/tex/latex/realscripts/realscripts.sty
*************************************************
* LaTeX warning: "xparse/redefine-command"
* 
* Redefining document command \textsubscript with arg. spec. 's' on line 25.
*************************************************
*************************************************
* LaTeX warning: "xparse/redefine-command"
* 
* Redefining document command \textsuperscript with arg. spec. 's' on line 28.
*************************************************
) (/usr/share/texlive/texmf-dist/tex/latex/metalogo/metalogo.sty))
(./TIPA_MWE.aux) (/usr/share/texmf/tex/latex/tipa/t3cmr.fd)
*geometry* driver: auto-detecting
*geometry* detected driver: xetex

And then it stops and my laptop starts making a lot of noise. A lot of noise. Eventually I have to interrupt it:

^C! Interruption.
\@ifstar ...new@ifnextchar *{\def \reserved@a *{#1
                                                  }\reserved@a }{#2}
l.28 ...a}\d{m} vi\'{s}v\'{a}ta\d{h} paribh\acm{u}
                                                  r \'{a}si; \\

So, if we follow David Carlisle's suggestion through, and use his lighter definition of \acm:

\newcommand{\acm}[1]{\={#1}\raisebox{.3ex}{\llap{\'{\mbox{}}}}}

We end up with something that does render. (Thanks very much!) This seems to render TIPA rather impotent though. Even something as simple as \begin{IPA}\={u}\end{IPA} will fail to render. This is a problem I never used to have. I was able to exploit the full functionality of TIPA for transliteration, as well as IPA input, and use fontspec to include characters from other scripts. As you can imagine, both are frequently desired in the same document. Can this still be done?

  • 1
    "TIPA ... also supports all the different styles and families"? Well, it has no italic font, which is the second most used type after the regular upright one. – Sverre Jun 8 '15 at 12:23
  • Well that's true, but it does have no italic font for good reason and you can always use slanted shape if you really want it. And, after all, that is what people often really get when they use "italics" – Au101 Jun 8 '15 at 14:14
  • what you might want to consider is retrieving an earlier version of fontspec (one that worked), rename it to (say) fontspec-nnn (where nnn is the version number), and use that. of course, it would limit your access to newer fontspec features, but that decision you can weigh on its merits. – barbara beeton Jun 8 '15 at 14:57
  • If you use TIPA only for IPA transcriptions, then there's no need for an italic font. But you're using it here for transliterations, and that's a whole different story. I would consider the lack of an italic font in such cases a major flaw. I don't understand what you mean by claiming that people "often really get" slanted shapes when they want italics. I have only ever experienced that with font families that don't have an italic font, and so the software fakes it by slanting the upright font. This is certainly not common, as almost all fonts include italic shapes. – Sverre Jun 8 '15 at 15:11
  • Personally, I like to set my transliterations in typewriter text, but you do make a good point. There is a hack around that, though. I believe that I've found entering math mode to produce good results, but it's been a long time since I used italics for transliterations. You are right, here. I only meant that when average Joe clicks on the little I in Microsoft Word, very often he doesn't get true italics. A fair few people don't understand the difference and wouldn't find use of slanted shapes noticeable. So I was always able to get away with using \slshape in my linguistics projects – Au101 Jun 8 '15 at 15:31
6

The clash on \sups is because poth packages are defining this command to do something related to TIPA, the tipa package isn't expecting that, the error message goes if you load it before fontspec

Then really you probably want to not overload too much of fontspec as the latin modern IPA characters are in unicode rather than T3 positions, which just leaves \acm for which I defined some approximation that possibly works here, except I can't read any of this, even in transliteration so It's possible something is missed completely.

enter image description here

I substituted the font for one I had that claimed to support this script.

\documentclass[12pt]{article}
\pagestyle{plain}

\usepackage{tipa}
\usepackage[margin=1.8cm]{geometry}
\geometry{a4paper}
\usepackage[parfill]{parskip}
\usepackage{amsmath}
\usepackage{amssymb}
\usepackage{fontspec,xltxtra}
%\newfontfamily{\SA}[Script=Devanagari]{Chandas}
\newfontfamily{\SA}[Script=Devanagari]{Aparajita}



\newcommand{\acm}[1]{\={#1}\raisebox{.3ex}{\llap{\'{\mbox{}}}}}

\AtBeginDocument{
%\renewcommand\textipa[2][r]{{\fontfamily{cm#1}\tipaencoding #2}}
}
%\renewenvironment{IPA}[1][r]{\fontfamily{cm#1}\tipaencoding}{}

\begin{document}

  {\SA अग्ने॒ यं य॒ज्ञम॑ध्व॒रं वि॒श्वत॑\XeTeXglyph49{} परि॒भूरसि॑ । \\
  स इद्दे॒वेषु॑ गच्छति ॥ ४ ॥}

  \begin{enumerate}

    \setcounter{enumi}{3}

    \item
    \'{A}gne y\'{a}\d{m} yaj\~{n}\'{a}m adhvar\'{a}\d{m}
    vi\'{s}v\'{a}ta\d{h} paribh\acm{u}r \'{a}si; \\
    S\'{a} \'{i}d dev\'{e}\d{s}u gacchati.

  \end{enumerate}

\end{document}

Here we have the Sanskrit, as it should be, without the TIPA stuff:

\documentclass[12pt]{article}
\pagestyle{plain}
\usepackage[margin=1.8cm]{geometry}
\geometry{a4paper}
\usepackage[parfill]{parskip}
\usepackage{amsmath}
\usepackage{amssymb}
\usepackage{fontspec,xltxtra}
%\newfontfamily{\SA}[Script=Devanagari]{Chandas}
\newfontfamily{\SA}[Script=Devanagari]{Nirmala UI}


\begin{document}

  {\SA अग्ने॒ यं य॒ज्ञम॑ध्व॒रं वि॒श्वत॑\XeTeXglyph49{} परि॒भूरसि॑ । \\
  स इद्दे॒वेषु॑ गच्छति ॥ ४ ॥}

\end{document}
  • There's nothing wrong with your choice of font. \XeTeXglyph49 is obviously a different character here, but that isn't important for the MWE. When I load TIPA first, it fails to render anything. Instead, my laptop makes a lot of noise and eventually I have to interrupt it. I'll add the details to the question in two shakes of a lamb's tail – Au101 Jun 8 '15 at 14:19
  • Sorry. I've noticed, however, it does work with the new definition of \acm, but that does seem to take away a lot of the power of TIPA. – Au101 Jun 8 '15 at 14:50
  • 1
    @Au101 yes probably, I'll see if I can see what fontspec thinks it's doing with TIPA.... – David Carlisle Jun 8 '15 at 15:42
  • Yeah, if I've understood you correctly, I'm essentially doing for myself what TIPA used to do for me. – Au101 Jun 8 '15 at 15:54
5

I'll let others take on the specific question about the clash between tipa and fontspec. But I wanted to provide an answer that would be helpful to other users who are facing the broader question of how to do Sanskrit transliteration (or phonetic transcription more generally) in XeLaTeX. This would especially apply to those who don't already have a lot of documents that use tipa; I understand that to a point, backwards compatibility is a valid consideration.

I think that in general the best way to handle diacritic stacking is to use a Unicode font that has good diacritic rendering, entering these symbols using an IPA keyboard layout.

Fonts with diacritic stacking

It is certainly true that some fonts are better than others in terms of their rendering of multiple diacritics. Here are some fonts (serif, sans serif, and monospaced) that do quite well with multiple diacritics even above capital letters and above narrow glyphs like i. These were compiled with fontspec and XeLaTeX.

enter image description here

Input of Unicode characters

The original question contends that it is easier to type tipa commands than to use Unicode system fonts. This varies widely depending on how you input the Unicode symbols. As described in this answer to Accessing IPA characters when using Charis SIL, there are IPA keyboard layouts available for Windows, Mac, and Linux that allow you to enter the transliterations in the MWE with fewer keystrokes than the tipa commands would require. For example, here are the keystrokes needed for some of the non-ASCII symbols in the MWE with the MSKLC IPA keyboard layout for Window vs. the tipa commands used in the MWE:

enter image description here

The keyboard layouts allow you to use fewer keystrokes than the tipa commands, and the shortcuts in the keyboard layouts are semantically organized (for example, & introduces under-diacritics and @ introduces over-diacritics).

Other benefits of using Unicode input

There are additional benefits of using Unicode input, as discussed at Typesetting phonetic symbols: Unicode or tipa?. For many users, code readability, cross-application compatibility, and font consistency are very significant factors to consider.

Here is the transliteration part of the MWE, with symbols entered using an IPA Unicode keyboard and compiled using XeLaTeX:

\documentclass{article}

\usepackage{fontspec}
\setmainfont{Charis SIL}

\begin{document}
\begin{enumerate}
\setcounter{enumi}{3}
\item Ágne yáṃ yajñám adhvaráṃ viśvátaḥ paribhū́r ási; \\
    Sá íd devéṣu gacchati.
\end{enumerate}
\end{document}

enter image description here

  • With respect to diacritic stacking, the fonts from SIL are usually very good. With respect to input, I like to define my own mnemonic commands, all starting with \IPA. As an example, I define the glyph ɖ as \IPAretroflexd, the glyph ɾ as \IPAtap, etc. I find that much easier to remember than the TIPA commands. – Sverre Jun 8 '15 at 21:20

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.