Re: Arabic Numbers in the unidode bi-directioanl Algorithm

From: Mark E. Shoulson (
Date: Mon May 18 2009 - 21:33:28 CDT

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    Raymond Mercier wrote:

    > Petr Tomasek writes
    >> Because arabic numerals ARE written left-to-right. (Historically this is
    >> probably due to the fact, that in arabic the the numbers were read
    >> starting from the least significant digit, e.g. "three and twenty and
    >> hundert"
    >> for 123...)
    > I rather think that this LtoR order is owed simply to the Indian
    > origin of this notation.
    You're sort of asking for trouble if you try to think of numbers as
    "right to left" or "left to right" originally. As Petr points out, it
    depends which end you consider to be the front. Western typography is
    pleased to consider the most significant digit to be the first digit,
    and thus we consider numbers to be written left to right. This happens
    to be the same direction that Arabic writing uses (most significant
    digit on the left); whether or not it is the "first" digit is another
    matter, and one that doesn't make that much difference. For better or
    worse, the convention is numbers in Arabic text are also considered to
    be most-significant-digit-first, and thus are stored in the reverse of
    their presentation order. That's the convention, it's what's been used
    for a while, we deal with it.


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