Re: missing chars for Arabic (sequential tanween)

From: John Hudson (
Date: Wed Dec 19 2007 - 14:18:06 CST

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    arno wrote:

    > shows that the three
    > sequential tanween signs are different from the normal signs and that
    > they are basically tanween signs. All examples are taken form pages 11
    > und 12 of a standard 604-page-copy: the first line from the new Medina
    > copy, the second from a new Iranian copy written according to the
    > Persian orthography.
    > ((Both follow the same "reading" of the qur'an -- 'Asim transmitted by
    > Hafs -- except for pauses it is the same version of the book, only the
    > "notation" is different.))

    Since both editions follow the same reading, are these really distinct characters or
    simply -- or not so simply, from a typographic perspective -- variant ways of writing the
    same character?

    I have seen, for instance, one recent font that interpreted the dammatan character,
    logically enough, as a double damma as shown in your Qahira1924 examples. At the time, it
    struck me as strange, because I am used to the other form, but I had no difficulty
    interpreting it as dammatan.

    The 'sequential' positioning of marks in fathatan and dammatan is certainly tricky, if one
    wants to follow Qahira1924 exactly, because the horiontal distance varies according to
    identity and width of the base letter. But that is a display issue that would present the
    same challenges whether the marks were encoded using the existing mark characters or your
    proposed new characters.

    The example you show of kasratan under final lam seems to me further evidence that what we
    are looking at is variant display of a single character, in which the two strokes are more
    or less vertically arranged depending on the identity and width of the base letter.

    In order to make a case for distinct encoding of sequential double marks, you would need
    to show a contrastive use, i.e. a case in which one character *meant* something other than
    the other character, not just a different way of writing them. Most persuasive would be a
    contrasted use in the same edition.

    John Hudson

    Tiro Typeworks
    Gulf Islands, BC
    I'm like that Umberto Eco guy, but without
    the writing.   -- anonymous caller

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