Re: Chairless/Amphibious hamza

From: arno (
Date: Fri Dec 21 2007 - 06:00:24 CST

  • Next message: arno: "Masri Ya' (Re: Chairless/Amphibious hamza)"

    Dear Khaled,
    Dear non-X-massers,
    Dear John (after yur sleep),

    John Hudson wrote:
    > arno wrote:
    >> I agree with you, that storing "amphib Hamza" instead of "tatweel +
    >> hamza above" OR "tatweel + hamza below" is more elegant, but much more
    >> difficult to interpret.
    > Difficult to interpret in what sense?

    That "somehow" has to diced whether it should be above or below the line.

    > If one considers the elongation of letters to be a display issue and not
    > an encoding issue, as I definitely do, then there is no question of how
    > this should be done.

    As you definitely do, but I do not.
    In one of his lectures Thomas Milo came up with a letter plus nine marks
    (or maybe just five ?). Anyway his assumption was that these marks just
    have to be placed nicely on the base letter.
    But I think these signs have a certain phononetic and orthographic
    order: what come first, should be most to the right, and tends to be
    towards the top. In your second example (on : li'ab) the hamza is
    pronounced after the lam and before the ba'. Hence it must be placed
    after the lam
    AND most of the time it NEEDS a tatwîl or kashida or a piece of stroke!
    It is chairless, it hangs in the air, but a needs some space, some
    support. It should NOT be above the lam as Th. Milo has claimed to be
    proper (maybe he does not anymore).
    It just is not true that the makers of the King Fuad edition of
    al-Qur'ân al-Karîm did not know enough Arabic or dit not care enough or
    did not have enough time to set le'an the proper way, they put the hamza
    above tatwîl on purpose!!!

    > I don't even think the tatweel character should
    > exist, let along be recommended to be used for anything. I believe it
    > exists because old metal fonts had a bit of metal with a connecting line
    > on it that could be used to crudely elongate the baseline stroke in very
    > horizontal typefaces. I don't believe digital text encoding should
    > include such things.

    Could not disagree more. It should have ten different shapes in a good
    font, but we can't do without it.

    > You need more than a locale, in the commonly understood meaning of that
    > term. You need something capable of making distinctions at the level of
    > individual editions of the Qur'an. That is a typographical level, and
    > you need to be able to plug in to font architecture at a level that
    > enables you to make a distinction between different ways of displaying
    > identically encoded text. That level is something like the OpenType
    > 'language system' tag (which is poorly named, since what it signifies is
    > particular typographic conventions, which could be associated with a
    > particular language, a particular community, a particular country or,
    > yes, a particular publisher or edition).

    What application supports the language tag?

    > I think we need to make a distinction between orthographic conventions
    > and typographic conventions.

    Good point. I will try to do it henceforth.

    > To me, orthographic convention means a
    > distinctive spelling, i.e. the use of different characters. Typographic
    > convention means a distinctive appearance, i.e. the use of different
    > glyphs. Keeping this distinction clear makes it easier to analyse what
    > is happening in text, and one of the first things to do when looking at
    > differences between e.g. different Qur'ans is to determine whether
    > individual differences are orthographic or typographic. This isn't
    > necessarily an easy determination to make, and I suspect that what we're
    > disagreeing about regarding the hamza is essentially this question.

    I don't think so. Whether kasra attracts hamza and shadda attracts kasra
    and whether hamza supporting ya' keeps the dots are typographic
    conventions, but most other hamza differenes between the traditions in
    South-Asia, Iran, Turkey and Arabia are orthographic.

    >>> That is, I do not believe a character-level distinction exists or
    >>> should exist between the hamza between two joining letters and the
    >>> hamza between two non-joining ketters. The distinction is in the
    >>> display.
    >> I do not believe that a character-level distinction exists or should
    >> exist between "fa with a dot above" and "fa with a dot below" or
    >> between "kaf with three dots above" and "keheh with three dots
    >> above." Locale should handle the proper choice of glyph.
    > An interesting parallel.

    But my conclusion is: Unicode was not invented for linguistics, so do
    not expect it to do everything a linguistic asks for. If Unicode
    compliant fonts do everything a printer needs, it's enough.

    >>> Those different rules simply mean that we can't expect one font to
    >>> satisfy all users, but there is nothing unusual in that.
    >> No, I want *one* font for writing an Ottoman and Q24 mushaf,
    >> and allows me to write words according to Egyptian AND according to
    >> Syrian rules
    > Are those rules orthographic or typographic (see above)?

    Both (see above)

    > If they are orthographic, i.e. you are making distinctions in the
    > spelling of the text, then making a single font to address them all is
    > possible presuming that all the rules follow the grammar of the script.
    > But if the distinctions are typographic, i.e. if they require different
    > glyphs to display the same text, then it is more problematic. One has to
    > split the glyph display along 'locale' lines someplace: either at the
    > font level, by making separate fonts for each 'locale', or at the layout
    > feature level, by defining locale-specific shaping associated with
    > appropriate tags.
    >> and most users want a font capable of writing the proper hamza in an
    >> basically unvowelled context.
    > It is this notion of 'proper hamza', in terms of what most users want,
    > that I find a bit discomforting. Because I look at this very large
    > number of fonts, including new designs, in which U+0621 always
    > interrupts the joining of adjacent letters, and if this is wrong I'm
    > concerned that I don't hear much complaint about it.

    Exactly what I wrote: of the millions of Arabs using a computer not to
    many suffer from wrong or missing hamzas.

    > [Skipping some stuff that I need to think about more.]
    > ...
    > If you tell me that these are both misspellings, I'll give up :)

    Of course, I tell you that they are misspellings.
    I asked for printed stuff -- and not a mushaf or quranic quotes.

    >> I am afraid that the script traditions are far to complex for you,
    >> Thomas and me to grasp.
    > If we can't grasp the thing that we're trying to implement, we can't
    > expect to be able to implement it. So we must either give up and accept
    > a fundamental rupture between Arabic typography and the script
    > traditions, or keep working at the problem, involve more people, discuss
    > with manuscript experts and scribes, etc.

    No, Thomas Milo follows the Ottoman courtly scribal tradition and the
    rest of the world follows the orthography of their locale.
    I think it is futile to define ONE "script tradition" for the Arabic script.
    Ottoman Turkish alone is four mutual exclusive orthographies for the
    Arabic script -- not to speak of Latin and Cyrillic, Hebrew, Armenian
    and Geek scripts.

    >> not true! The Princely Printing House that produced the King Fuad
    >> edition had many more ligatures (jîm/ha/xa ligatures among them), but
    >> they freely choose not to use them.
    > Do you know why?

    Because it is easier to read.
    I have a beautiful calligraphied Ottoman mushaf and a friend as a
    Persian nasta'liq mushaf in which the dots and vowel marks are all there
    but placed in a way that only somebody who knows where they belong can
    "read" the text.
    Many Turkish Muslims and many young Arabs prefer the fonts used on
    mobile telephones to the Ottoman courtly tradition.

    >> Does that mean that you do not think that ADDING "amphib/chairless
    >> hamza" is a good idea?
    > I suspect, so far as I understand the matter, that it might be a
    > 'non-starter', i.e. something that won't appeal to the Unicode Technical
    > Committee members, but I could be wrong. I may be missing something in
    > the description of the proposed character. How, exactly, does it differ
    > from U+0621.

    I do not understand what you say.
    Given the fact that Unicode has some hamzas encoded, and
    given the fact that the Committee is the Committee,
    do you advocate
    -- changing the attribute of the existing hamza,
    -- adding a new hamza,
    -- making the best of the current encodings?


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