Dhives – A free Dhives Akuru font
We originally made this font as part of a April Fool’s gag we were going to publish this year. The font is a very rough first draft, so please excuse the inconsistent stroke widths and jagged edges. We intended on cleaning it up and improving it but have not managed to get around to it so far. We do not still have a firm grasp of the script but the font we are presenting here should be a great start. As far as we are aware, this is the first publicly available Dhives font.
Dhives Akuru is the script used in the Maldives until it was replaced officially by Thaana as the official script for Dhivehi. It is reported that Dhives Akuru continued to be used in some atolls until 70 years ago despite Thaana being made the official script in the 18th century. Dhives is derived from Brahmi script and, unlike Thaana, is written left-to-right. Details on how the use and functioning of the script is hard to find. Luckily we found a gold mine on Dhives Akuru in the paper “Preliminary Proposal to Encode Dhives Akuru in ISO/IEC 10646” authored by Anshuman Pandey in 2010. It is not entirely possible to write Dhives without changes to the font engine(s) to handle the various forms, conjuncts and combinations of vowels and consonants that the script requires. We would definitely say it is a more complicated script than Thaana. For a thorough introduction to Dhives, we would highly recommend reading paper by Pandey.
Using Dhives with the font is pretty straightforward. We have mapped the characters phonetically like the popular Thaana keyboard mapping. Except for the several scenarios involving conjuncts and combinations, it is just like writing Thaana (or so we believe!).
The font is being released under the very liberal MIT license, so feel free to use, modify and distribute.