Re: Vertical BIDI

From: John Cowan (
Date: Wed May 19 2004 - 06:27:03 CDT

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    Philippe Verdy scripsit:

    > > In fact no; both Mongolian (or Manchu, which is unified with it in
    > > Unicode) and Chinese are written TTB.
    > Then, why did you say that:
    > > What's uncertain is whether a lr or a rl progression is favored,
    > > given the paucity of evidence. Michael favors lr progression.
    > > There is no question that the text is read BTT.

    That statement refers to Ogham, not Mongolian!

    Ogham carved on stone is read up one side of the stone, then (if
    necessary) across the top of the stone, then (if necessary) down the
    other side of the stone. Now maybe it's just a mistake to assimilate
    this scheme to any kind of two-dimensional layout, since all known
    instances of Ogham on manuscript are ordinary horizontal L2R, like Latin
    (with which it is most often mixed).

    The difficulty arises when Ogham is mixed with vertical Han or with
    Mongolian, since once the basic directionality becomes vertical, the
    tendency to read the Ogham BTT will become automatic. This is analogous
    to the problem that fantasai has pointed out with Latin script written
    in lr progression when Han gets mixed in: the normal reading direction
    of lr-Latin is BTT, but any Han included will automatically be read TTB,
    corrupting it.


    One of my favorite lines in the Unicode Standard reads: "There simply
    is no traditional Japanese method of typesetting Devanagari."

    John Cowan
    There are books that are at once excellent and boring.  Those that at
    once leap to the mind are Thoreau's Walden, Emerson's Essays, George
    Eliot's Adam Bede, and Landor's Dialogues.  --Somerset Maugham

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