Alphabets of Languages with Bidirectional Scripts and Aspects of these Scripts Support
Israel Gidali - IBM Israel
A multitude of languages have used in the past, or use in the present scripts which are bidirectional. Phoenician, Aramaic, Old Hebrew (Canaanite), Jewish (Modern Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino), Modern Arabic, Farsi, Urdu, Uigur, Kurdish are only a few to mention.
The total number of people currently speaking languages written in bidirectional scripts may be well above half a billion people, most of them located in the Middle East and Asia. Thus one can understand the ever increasing interest in the writing systems of these languages, their support in the computer environment, and the inclusion of their characters in the Unicode repertoire.
The peculiarities of the alphabets and of the bidirectional scripts are presented, along with the implications related to their data processing.
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14 January 2002, Webmaster