Re: Arab Ma[r]ks

From: Khaled Hosny (
Date: Fri Jul 16 2010 - 08:09:39 CDT

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    In Arabic, all marks are either above or bellow their seat, the
    horizontal position bears no significance and it is a matter of personal
    preference or calligraphic custom.

    Tanwin is not different here, when it is positioned before the Alef, it
    is because it seat is the letter before the Alef not the Alef itself
    (which is the case in most handwriting or calligraphy), calligraphers,
    however tend to make it as high as the Alef and close to it, but as I
    said it is a mere calligraphic custom for purely artistic reasons.

    In typeset texts, some people place the Tanwin marks above the Alef,
    whether this is correct or not is debatable, but it is the most popular
    practice in in modern typeset texts, which even crept to some people's

    On Fri, Jul 16, 2010 at 08:18:49AM -0400, CE Whitehead wrote:
    > Hi. Again, sorry, I am still confusing left and right; the tanween-al-fatha or
    > fathatan and the corresponding tanween mark with kasra both display either
    > above or to the right of the vowel seat in an rtl context -- that is they
    > display before the vowel seat.
    > Sorry for all my goofs.
    > (This is my last correction of this; sorry to tie up the list; I hope I have
    > everything straight.)
    > ━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━
    > From:
    > Date: Fri, 16 Jul 2010 07:22:41 -0400
    > > Hi, I need to correct what I just wrote. Sorry.
    > > . . .
    > > From: CE Whitehead (
    > > Date: Thu Jul 15 2010 - 20:52:33 CDT
    > >> For kazakh it seems that the hamza but not the vowel diacritic displays to
    > the right (apparently in an rtl context).
    > >> In Arabic, fathatan (the doubled fatah diacritic, tanween-al-fatah) and
    > dammatan likewise display above but slightly >> to the right of the vowel seat.
    > > Correction: Khaled Hosny and Arno Schmitt are correct here; fathatan can
    > display slightly to the right of the aliph seat > only no other vowel seat;
    > this is in an rtl context;
    > > similarly the double (tanween) qasra diacritic displays slightly to the left
    > of the aliph seat (or perhaps underneath it) in > an rtl context.
    > > (I goofed up and confused right and left! Sorry!)
    > I am still confounding right and left, the kasra tanween diacritic displays
    > slightly to the right not to the left of the aliph seat (or of course perhaps
    > underneath it) in an rtl context.
    > > as for dammatan it does not display to the right but above the aliph 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).
    > >> . . .
    > >> 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;
    > > Correction again: fathatan can sit slightly to the left of the vowel seat --
    > that's the way I've always written it at >word's end (I've never written it
    > above the vowel seat though perhaps it can go there too);
    > No I've always written it before the vowel seat which is to the right of it in
    > an rtl context; sorry for confusing these.
    > > dammatan sits only on (above) the vowel seat.
    > Best,
    > C. E. Whitehead

     Khaled Hosny
     Arabic localiser and member of team
     Free font developer

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