Re: Arab Ma[r]ks

From: CE Whitehead (
Date: Thu Jul 15 2010 - 20:52:33 CDT

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    All I can see from a quick perusal of the charts
    at etc.
    (particularly of the 'extended' precomposed -- that is diacritic plus seat -- characters
    U0671, U0672, U0673, U0675, U0676, U0677, U0678 -- U06FE however I do not know what to make of; likewise I do not know what to do with the seats with Indic digits and the consonants with small consonants)
    is that when the vowel or hamza diacritic sits on the vowel seat,
    the vowel or hamza diacritic is always above, below, or in an rtl context, to the right of the vowel seat.

    For kazakh it seems that the hamza but not the vowel diacritic displays to the right (apparently in an rtl context).

    In Arabic, fatahan (the doubled fatah diacritic, tanween-al-fatah) and dammatan likewise display above but slightly to the right of the vowel seat.


    However hamza in Arabic displays above the vowel seat -- but whether hamza is written to the right or above its seat is not that critical in handwriting I do not think (I never got corrected so long as I got the hamza in and in the end of course we did not have to write the diacritic -- my teacher was Arabic but perhaps an Arabic speaker will know better).

    I, like you, really have no experience with non-Arabic written in an Arabic script and cannot help in that regard -- I think your knowledge of the Arabic alphabet is at least as good as mine.


    I have a tiny bit of knowledge of Farsi nothing useful but some minimal experience even with the writing (I once was acquainted with several Iranians and then practiced briefly a few phrases such as "iin gorb mard ast" with a copy of "Teach Yourself Persian"). The dots in Farsi like in Arabic are really part of the letter,
    and so I would agree that likewise in Farsi the dots that determine what the letter is should go closest to the letter -- these cannot be omitted without a meaning change in Arabic or Farsi.


    In Arabic definitely the shadda diacritic is closer to the consonant than the vowel diacritic and in fact, in IE8 display of Arabic, Arabic declared as Kazakh, and Arabic declared as Kashmiri, if you write the vowel diacritic logically between the consonant and the shadda diacritic, the vowel is not displayed.


    From Arno Schmitt (
    Date: Wed Jul 14 2010 - 01:46:27 CDT

    > then the vowel signs. I don't see any good reason why fatha (0618 + 863E) and damma (0619 + 064F), sukun (0652)

    > and head of kha (06E1) are put into to different mark > classes. I think even fathatan (054B) and dammatan (O64C)

    > should be in the same class, but that is less clear cut; without any doubt they come after the shadda and
    > before the koranic pause signs, but -- just as Hebrew waw and shin attract preceding and following holam -- one can

    > argue that a following upright alif attracts fathatan
    > and dammatan i.e. up and/or to the left, but this is not always the case, and even when it happens, it is not a

    > sufficient reason for not putting them into the same marks
    > class as the other vowel signs above.
    Thanks for this commentary.
    Yes when fatahan and dammatan come at the end of a non-feminine word they gain a vowel seat which they tend to sit above but slightly to the right of in an rtl context;
    The Arabic commentary on this says that the addition of the vowel seat effectively separates these from the preceding consonant. However I always felt that these were typed before the aliph prior to computers (on none memory-typewriters with diacritics). Today apparently one is supposed to type the fatahan first.

    > While putting some vowel signs into different mark class, is unelegant and inefficient, but does no great harm, some

    > vowel signs are put into mark class 230, the generic > far above class: head of kha (06E1) and inverted damma (0657)

    > are no different from sukun and damma -- and superscript alif (0670) which is according to Unicode
    > "actually a vowel sign" has its proper place together with the rest of the vowel signs.

    The dagger alif is somewhat rare except in a few terms though I used to use it all the time to write "haathaa".
    The sukun in Arabic represents the absence of a vowel -- so you cannot get sukun and a vowel together -- thus, they can all be put in a single combining class except that you do not get sukun with shaddah and you do get vowels with shaddah. That's for Arabic again which is what I am limited to.


    { Here for reference are the precomposed characters for non-Arabic that I was able to make sense of:
    0671 Koranic Arabic Wasla
    0672 Kashmiri Hamza
    0673 Kashmiri Hamza
    0675 Kazakh Hamza with aliph seat is a case where the hamza diacritic displays to the right (presumably in an rtl context)
    0676 Kazakh Hamza with waw seat; the hamza diacritic likewise displays to the right (presumably in an rtl context)
    0677 Kazakh Hamza with waw and vowel diacritic; again the hamza diacritic but not the vowel diacritic displays to the right
    0678 Kazakh Hamza
    Kazakh and Kashmiri are way out of my league however. }


    -- C. E. Whitehead

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