Re: bidi or multi algorithm?

From: John Jenkins (
Date: Wed Dec 20 2000 - 14:12:00 EST

On Wednesday, December 20, 2000, at 10:15 AM, Elaine Keown wrote:

> Is Unicode's so-called "bidi algorithm" really bidirectional, that is,
> does it govern horizontal text layout in right-to-left and
> left-to-right languages?


> Or is "bidi" a metaphor here, for more possible text orientations,
> including vertical boustrophedons and other historically available
> options? I'm asking because I tried to read the Unicode 3.0 paper
> documentation and wasn't sure what it was saying at some points.

No. E.g., from TUS 3.0, p. 24 (§2.5, "Writing Direction"):
"Boustrophedon writing is of interest almost exclusively to scholars
intent on reproducing the exact visual content of ancient texts. The
Unicode Standard does not provide direct support for boustrophedon.
Fixed texts can, however, be written in boustrophedon by using hard line
breaks and directionality overrides."

> Also, on the Internet, are historically vertically placed languages
> being written vertically? Some of them are BOTH vertical and right to
> left...........How difficult is this technically?

This is very difficult technically. I'm not aware of any Web browser
which supports vertical text.

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