Re: kurdish sorani

From: John Hudson (
Date: Tue Aug 29 2006 - 21:46:24 CDT

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    Andries Brouwer wrote:

    > Your image agrees with my description of Uyghur shaping. Good.
    > Concerning Urdu shaping, the contexts you show it in seem
    > rather unnatural - Urdu double-eyed h is the second symbol
    > of combinations where it indicates aspiration.

    Yes. The context in the illustration is merely to indicate whether initial, medial or
    final shaping is being applied.

    > The nashtaliq font
    > one always sees used for Urdu has a descending "waterfall" type
    > typography and I am not used to seeing the same shape used medially
    > and finally, unless the font is such that all four shapes are
    > essentially the same. So, I am a bit unhappy with the Urdu line
    > on your picture.

    This is basically a matter of type style. As you note, Urdu is normally written and
    typeset in the nasta'liq style, although my colleague Tim Holloway has been collecting
    samples of Urdu typeset in neo-naskh types in publications from immigrant communities in
    the UK.

    In the nasta'liq style, the do chashmi he is essentially the same letter shape regardless
    of its context, and the connecting line is through the centre, on the diagonal. Indeed, in
    Zaidi & Hassan's _An Introduction to Urdu Script_ (Central Institute for Indian Languages,
    Mysore, 1997), the do chashmi he is uniquely presented as a letter without allographs.

    The question of how best to represent this letter in horizontal, neo-naskh type styles in
    an interesting one, but the dominant convention that has emerged is one which matches what
    I have shown in my illustration, which in turn corresponds to the desired Uighur h
    shaping. This has led several different parties, including the relevant Chinese standards
    body, to conclude that U+06BE should be used for the Uighur h.

    I believe this is correct not only because in the style of type preferred for Uighur text
    this shaping of U+06BE is the norm, but also because Uighur manuscripts exist in the
    nasta'liq style, and I believe these will be found to follow the conventions of Urdu
    nata'liq in the shaping of the do chashmi he therein used as the Uighur h. Unfortunately,
    the one manuscript text I have images of does not seem to seem to feature the letter h.

    John Hudson

    Tiro Typeworks
    Vancouver, BC
    I am not yet so lost in lexicography, as to forget
    that words are the daughters of earth, and that things
    are the sons of heaven.  - Samuel Johnson

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