Re: ta' marbuta

From: Gregg Reynolds (
Date: Wed Aug 25 1999 - 22:40:08 EDT


I don't know of any languages that employ joining rules contrary to the
standard rules as a matter of ordinary spelling. However, in even in
Arabic some initial forms used in isolation are not uncommon. This is
seen most commonly in abjad an enumeration used for list labels: the jeem
initial form is used in isolation. Its also seen in some abbrevs., as is
the use of isolate forms for acronyms. Sometime before the end of the
century, if my current software-project-from-hell ever ends, I'll have a
PDF catalog of such forms with Arabic font on a webpage.

I did find one ligature with which I was unfamiliar: in "Guide Pratique du
Compositeur d'Imprimerie", by Theotiste Lefevre (Librairie de Firmin-Didot
Freres, Paris, 1873), the following are listed in the chapter on Arabic

        dal-he isolated form (for dal (U+0647) isolated followed by he
(U+0647) isolated.) Similarly for thal (U+0630).

I've never seen such forms, so this sent me to de Sacy ("Grammaire Arabe",
by Silvestre de Sacy, l'Imprimerie Imperiale, Paris 1810.), who says dal,
thal, ra, zayn, and waw may for a ligature with a following he. I've seen
it in calligraphy, but never knew it was standard.

Printing was relatively new in the Arab world in 1810; I wonder if it
hasn't lead to elimination of some once-common ligatures.

-gregg wrote:

> >It's not clear to me if Joining Class is normative or not:
> presumably it is, though it is not listed in the table at the
> beginning of Chapter 4.
> A question for all the Arabiphiles out there:
> Is the joining behaviour of Arabic characters at all dependent
> upon the language, or are there ever even variations in joining
> behaviour within a language?
> Peter

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