Re: It is easy to predict the past.

From: John Hudson (
Date: Tue Jun 14 2005 - 15:43:24 CDT

  • Next message: John Hudson: "Re: It is easy to predict the past."

    Chris Jacobs wrote:

    > Are there examples in arabic where a letter of the three-letter root
    > ligatures with a letter outside the root?

    The important thing to remember is that much 'ligaturing' in Arabic is really a misnomer
    or, at best, a merely technical description of a glyph processing model by which typeforms
    are rendered. There are many different styles of written Arabic, and apart from the
    lam_alif ligation -- and sometimes including even that -- most of the ways in which
    letters connect to each other can by analysed not in terms of ligatures but contextual
    adjustment of connecting lettershapes. It just so happens that most typesetting
    technologies have handled the more complex of these connections by casting precomposed
    combinations, i.e. ligatures. But it is perfectly possible to conceive of a typesetting
    technology for Arabic that would not employ *any* ligatures, but would rely solely on
    contextual substitution and cursive connection positioning of glyphs (including
    sub-character glyphs representing different parts of a letter in a particular connecting

    Monotype recently used this kind of analysis when making the digital version of their
    Nastaliq type. The old metal version had something like 20,000 ligatures (including many
    complete word ligatures); the new digital version has a couple of hundred, if I recall
    correctly, and all the other forms are made up from contextual connecting segments.

    So it is really meaningless to ask whether a letter ligates with other letters in Arabic,
    because the answer is dependent on the model employed in the font. One answer might be
    that almost all Arabic letters ligate; another answer might be that almost none of them

    John Hudson

    Tiro Typeworks
    Vancouver, BC
    Currently reading:
    Truth and tolerance, by Benedict XVI, Cardinal Ratzinger as was
    An autobiography from the Jesuit underground, by William Weston SJ
    War (revised edition), by Gwynne Dyer

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