Re: Final letters in Hebrew and Arabic

From: Gregg Reynolds (
Date: Tue Mar 13 2001 - 23:17:39 EST

Nick NICHOLAS <> writes:

> couple of questions on the final forms of letters in Hebrew and Arabic,
> just for the sake of comparison.
> (1) When a letter with a final variant appears alone --- say as a numeral,
> or in discussion of the letter or phoneme --- does it under any
> circumstances appear in its final form, or is it always medial?

In Arabic, when abjad enumeration for lists is used, jiim (and Ha, and possibly others) may take (isolated) initial form. You might see this standing alone, in parentheses, or followed by a dash or period. This usage is quite common. You can also find particles like "li", "bi", etc. in "isolated initial" form, when the ligature (in the literal sense, the ligating stroke) is interrupted by e.g. a quote mark.

To complicate things, you can find dictionaries in which headwords violate the standard shaping and are written using all isolate forms, although most dictionaries seem to use standard shaping.

-gregg reynolds

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