Re: kurdish sorani

From: John Hudson (
Date: Wed Aug 30 2006 - 13:07:33 CDT

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    Philippe Verdy wrote:

    > * U+06BE is rendered incorrectly with "Times New Roman" and "Arial" (3 shapes, effectively the final form should not be distinct from the medial form, although the isolated form correctly takes the shape of the initial form) and with "Arial Unicode MS" (1 shape: only the initial form); it is correct only for "Microsoft Sans Serif" and "Tahoma" (2 shapes: the initial form also used for the isolated case, and the medial form also used for the final case).

    The rendering with Arial Unicode MS (1 shape: only the initial form) is not incorrect. As
    I've been saying: the shaping of the do chashmi he character varies according to the style
    of writing or type used, and repetition of the single form is not only not incorrect it is
    the norm for nasta'liq, i.e. the style in which the Urdu language is most often written.

    When type designers have the job of representing this character in novel type styles
    outside the historical influence of the major calligraphic styles, they need to make
    choices about how to shape the character. And they have a *choice* to employ either two
    forms as in most neo-naskh types or to employ a single form as has been done in Arial
    Unicode MS. Because even some 8-bit Arabic codepages include Urdu character support, this
    has meant that designers and font developers have needed to make decisions about this
    character for script styles in which Urdu would not normally be written. Most recently,
    for example, I have been looking at a maghribi typeface designed by a Moroccan type
    designer. Now, it is unlikely that anyone will ever want to set Urdu text in a maghribi
    type, and there is no precedent for how the do chashmi he should be shaped within the
    maghribi style, but a decision has to be made. A good designer will know what the options
    are, will be aware of the distinction in shaping between the nasta'liq and naskh styles,
    and will try to discern which shaping is best suited to the new type. The good news for
    the designer is that Urdu readers understand the conventions and recognise the letter
    regardless of the shaping. But they have their preferences, particularly for nasta'liq in
    Pakistan and India (in immigrant communities, e.g. in the UK, one sees Urdu set in naskh
    more frequently), and these will determine what fonts they want to use or see as
    appropriate for their language. There is nothing unusual in this. I have a Parisian
    colleague who will not use most British and American typefaces for setting French because
    he thinks the lowercase a is too wide. It is a shaping issue :)

    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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