RE: Hebrew: inconsistencies

From: Jonathan Rosenne (
Date: Thu Jun 03 1999 - 06:44:05 EDT

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Arno Schmitt []
> Sent: Wednesday, June 02, 1999 11:09 PM
> To: Unicode List
> Subject: Hebrew: inconsistencies
> Jonathan Rosenne schrieb:
> >
> > The placement of the Hebrew points is a complex matter, and the Holam is
> > part of this complexity. In addition to the placement on the
> right of the
> > following letter, it is also sometimes elided.
> >
> > At 11:41 01/06/99 -0700, wrote:
> > >
> > >There is another question that needs to be asked in this
> discussion: how
> > >should the "right holem" and "left holem" be encoded. I'd like
> to see both
> > >Jony and Arno answer this question for the set of examples
> Arno provided:
> >
> > They are both encoded as Holam. This is just a placement issue,
> which is a
> > matter of typography and not of encoding. If you want, you can
> look at it
> > as an automatic shaping for Hebrew.
> >
> > I wonder why, if you (Arno) believe so strongly that the finals
> should be
> > automatically shaped, you want shape variants encoded in this case.
> >
> I wrote earlier:
> I have no idea how many people have ever wondered why there is a
> single free space in the middle of the Hebrew block: 05BA
> There used to be both holams, 05B9 and 05BA.
> This was simplified to one holam, because: if the program knows
> the
> rules of Hebrew spelling well (rules like: sin, alef, waw
> "attract"
> the holam that phonologically "belongs" to the preceding
> consonant,
> shin "attracts" the holam that phonologically "belongs" to the
> following consonant), and knows what the preceding and following
> signs are, the program finds the right form of (place for) the
> holam.

Yes, it was intended for a Holam variant. No, it was not simplified. it was
removed because there is no such letter and the distinction (such as Avon)
is both purely typographical and uncommon.

> But this is true of the five _final_ _shape_ of the consonants in
> question as well.

No. Why?

> I think we have to live with this __inconsistency__.
> But there is no excuse for software developers,
> - not to give us proper placing of the holam,

Yes, considering there are various views as to what is "proper".

> - not to provide us with proper shaping of Hebrew consonants (as
> is done for Arabic and Indic scripts) - for thus to lazy to type
> final forms where they regularly occur.

This is a coding issue, whether you mark the exceptions or code the final
forms. This issue had been decided, the installed base is enormous, change
is out of the question (in addition to not being justified).

> So, I can give no straightforward answer.
> Interestingly, Jony did not recognize "Aoax" (eagle-owl),
> as alef (glottal stop), right holam (o), furtive patah (a), het
> (x).
> Unicode decided that furtive patah, signaling /a/ BEFORE the
> letter under which it stands, and patah, signaling /a/ AFTER the
> letter under which it stands.

Not only Unicode. This is common usage. Only experts know the difference.
Normally, both are written the same, under the letter.

> So I have to input for /'oax/ "'oxa" -- the argument being: a
> vowel signs are keyboarded (stand in the code stream) AFTER the
> vowel with which they are WRITTEN (not before or after according
> to when they are SPOKEN).
> This being so, the holam (the single holam admitted by Unicode),
> must be keyboarded after the letter with which it is written.
> Aoax is keyboarded/coded as Aoxa (letter, vowel, letter vowel)
> roAsh must then be keyboarded/coded as rAosh, because the holam
> sits on the alef.

The Holam is placed on the Alef but belongs to the Resh, so it is Resh,
Holam, Alef, Shin, Shin Dot.

> Since Unicode decided that there is only one patah
> AND decided that there is only one holam,
> the obviously want us to keyboard holam according to when it is
> and patah according where it is WRITTEN.
> Right, Jony?

> I think I understand you twisted logic, but I would prefer a
> consitent way.
> And logically, there are only five different SHAPES to the
> consonants in question, just like in Arabic.

I am preparing a logical and consistent new coding for English, which is
notoriously illogical and inconsistent. I have many sources for this,
including G. B. Shaw, and I am confident that Arno will support my proposal
against any irrational objections our American and British colleagues and
other biasd naitiv speekerz of english mai raiz.

> Arno

best regardz,


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