Re: Directionality Standard

From: Behnam (
Date: Mon Dec 17 2007 - 18:23:31 CST

  • Next message: Mark Davis: "Re: Directionality Standard"

    Thank you.
    So the answer is no. Unicode does not define the directionality of a
    paragraph. Then I guess my next question should be why?
    I think I have some explaining to do.
    Unicode defines a very complex bidi behaviour of characters, and it
    defines the beginning and ending of a paragraph (I assume). Yet, it
    doesn't define what directionality this paragraph should take to
    arrange these characters within the paragraph.
    Defining the directionality of a paragraph is more important than
    defining the language of a text. Yes, language tag can help language
    aware devices and applications behave accordingly. But directionality
    definition is not about ' user friendly' behaviour of a text, it is
    about reproducing the raw text, as intended by its Unicode encoding.
    Understanding this issue I suppose, may be very easy or very
    difficult, depending on to the extend you were exposed to rtl
    experience. In the next paragraph, I write a Persian line, throwing a
    couple of English words within, and in left to right directionality
    to give you an idea about what right to left users are experiencing
    in everyday basis.
    پرسش من از Unicode این است که چرا برای
    پاراگراف directionality تبیین نکرده است.
    In order to read the above phrase correctly in Persian, the order of
    words should be as I numbered below (from right to left):
    پرسش1 من2 از3 Unicode4 این5 است6 که7 چرا8
    برای9 پاراگراف10 directionality11 تبیین12
    نکرده13 است14.

    Of-course I can set this paragraph in my application to "rtl" and
    thanks to wonders of bidi behaviour of characters, everything will be
    put in place:

    پرسش من از Unicode این است که چرا برای
    پاراگراف directionality تبیین نکرده است.

    But I have absolutely no guarantee that my rtl text in an email, in a
    text message, in an online forum posting... will be received in rtl
    setting. This perfectly Unicode encoded text is at the mercy of
    applications, devices, mediums and platforms. And more likely than
    not, my rtl paragraph will be received in ltr and in the order that I
    numbered above! Even in a more controlled situations such as word
    processors, as a friend of mine has experienced, this Persian phrase
    written in rtl setting of Nisus on a Mac, exported in a .doc format,
    and opened on a Windows platform will produce an rtl, but 'Arabic'
    document! not only an Arabic script document which is, but an Arabic
    language document!

    You can experiment this dilemma yourself. Set your application to rtl
    (which can be done in many applications), write something in English
    or any Roman language. As long as the whole phrase is Roman, you only
    get a misplaced final period in far left. But if you throw a couple
    of Hebrew words within the phrase, then you'll see what a wrong
    directionality setting can do to your English. Of-course you are not
    exposed to this dilemma because the default directionality of all
    computerized devices and applications is left to right. But it gives
    you an idea what rtl users are going through in everyday basis.

    Again, this is not about requesting a convenience. It is about
    requesting Unicode to do what it is set to do. Unicode encodes bidi
    behaviour of characters, the beginning of a paragraph, the end of a
    paragraph. It must encode its directionality too.


    On 17-Dec-07, at 4:20 AM, Stephane Bortzmeyer wrote:

    > On Sat, Dec 15, 2007 at 11:08:40AM -0500,
    > Behnam <> wrote
    > a message of 78 lines which said:
    >> Is there any Unicode standard to identify a text? i.e. primary
    >> script>directionality>language?
    > Not an Unicode standard but, yes, there is a standard to tag texts to
    > indicate language, script, etc. It's RFC 4646. See
    > for a start.

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