Re: chairless hamza

From: Khaled Hosny (
Date: Fri Jan 04 2008 - 11:04:10 CST

  • Next message: Khaled Hosny: "Re: chairless hamza"

    Resending what I, mistakenly, sent to John in private, sorry.

    On Fri, Jan 04, 2008 at 02:39:14AM -0800, John Hudson wrote:
    > There is another way of looking at it, which produces a different question:
    > Does anything need to be done in Unicode about it?

    I'd say Yes. Relaying exclusively on font technology doesn't ensure
    integrity of text, we are in a situation of to different Hamzas every
    one has different expected behaviour. If both are encoded as the same
    character, how I'd type the word وبٱلءاخرة and send it to some one and
    expect him to receive it as a Quranic Hamza without relaying on some
    sort of rich text markup?

    > As you indicated, in some conventional usage the hamza is dividing (a
    > better term, I think, than non-joining), while in other conventional usage
    > it is transparent according to context. So whichever way it is defined in
    > Unicode, some mechanism must exist for the alternative usage: if it is
    > defined as dividing, a mechanism is needed to make it display as
    > transparent in appropriate contexts; if it is defined in some way as
    > transparent then a mechanism is needed to make it display as dividing.
    > I consider the variance in usage a matter of display, i.e. I think it would
    > be a big mistake to use a different character for the hamza to achieve a
    > different appearance or shaping behaviour, as this reduces ease of text
    > comparison, spellchecking, sorting, etc.

    I think Unicode actually did this before, in the case of Farsi Yeh for

    > I suspect that inertia will decide this issue: it is possible to resolve
    > the display of transparent hamza at the font level on top of the existing
    > definition of U+0621, so I doubt if the UTC will see much impetus to make
    > changes that might cause problems for existing implementations.

    For that reason, I think another Hamza is a necessity.

    > Of course, different font and layout models have different capabilities. I
    > know OpenType better than the others, and in that context there is not only
    > the capability to resolve display of transparent hamza contextually but
    > also user-controlled mechanisms to inhibit such display if a dividing hamza
    > is preferred (e.g. turning off discretionary contextual alternates or
    > treating the dividing hamza as a stylistic variant).

    As I relaying on font technology alone, doesn't guaranty any standard
    behaviour, more ever one can't ask font vendors to provide fonts that
    provide a, currently, non standard behaviour.

     Khaled Hosny

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