Re: Display of Mongolian in Arabic or Hebrew documents

From: André Szabolcs Szelp (
Date: Wed Nov 21 2007 - 04:45:46 CST

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    Peter Constable wrote:
    > IMO, the established conventions for Mongolian embedded in horizontal come
    > from the most common scenarios to date, embedded into Chinese or English,
    > and the conventions are LTR or, in short runs, vertically, and I don't
    > think embedding in Arabic or Hebrew should change that.

    I don't agree with Peter and support John Hudson, given that there is no established convention yet (if there is any, that should be implemented of course).

    Turning Mongolian in Arabic and Hebrew context clockwise (back) would seem not only natural, because that's what it directly evolved from, but also, because the "established convention embedded in horizontal (English, Chinese)" is _not_ to embed it LTR, but rather to embed it in the major direction of the embedding script (which is coincidally LTR in the above two cases), but which would be RTL in Arabic/Hebrew.

    Also Peters argument (and example) that we do not embed Latin script into Arabic RTL is not a good one, as the cases are not analogous: The Latin script's and Arabic script's predecessors where _mirrored_. The Mongolians turned. If you take a printed Arabic text and turn the sheet, you "read it the Mongolian way". You can easily turn it back. Mirroring necessarily needs "mirrored copying".

    Also, please keep in mind, that Mongolian is written top to bottom, so its natural direction inherently is incompatible with LGCA/AH. If you embed Latin to Arabic or Arabic into Latin, you do not change the major _orientation_ of the script (horizontal). If you necessarily change the orientation (because of the different major direction of writing), you can do either way. Consider the following: IF the latin script is turned, either clockwise or counter-clockwise 90 degrees (e.g. on books' spine), you can read the text equally easily (or difficultly) either turning way. Even turned 180 degrees you'll be able to read the letters easier than when they are mirrored. Therefore the analogy is none.


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