Re: Arab Ma[r]ks

From: Khaled Hosny (
Date: Mon Jul 19 2010 - 16:44:26 CDT

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    On Sat, Jul 17, 2010 at 07:33:56AM -0400, CE Whitehead wrote:
    > Hi, Khaled, Arno:
    > From: Khaled Hosny (
    > Date: Fri Jul 16 2010 - 08:09:39 CDT
    > > 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
    > > handwriting.
    > Thanks very much -- both to Khaled and Arno for correcting my misinformation
    > here
    > and supplying these details!
    > Again, as I noted, IE 7 and 8 display the tanween characters almost in the same
    > place whether you type the fathatan after the consonant or after the final
    > aliph. (In the second case it appears slightly closer to the aliph, and I
    > gather now from what Khalid says this is to please users' preferences.)
    > On this same note, a while back Maher I think
    > (
    > posted a url to a forum:
    > So I am copying some of the discussion here:
    > أيها الإخوة الكرام المختصون بالعربية وعلومها، هذا الموضوع دار حوله جدل لم أصل
    > فيه لنتيجة بعد، وهو أنّ تنوين الفتح هل يوضع على ألف الإطلاق أم الحرف الذي قبلها؟
    > مثلاً: (بيتًا) أم (بيتاً)؟ وهل من بحوث حسمت هذه القضية؟
    > in Arabic and its knowlege/science bi-'il Carabiyah wa'ca?luwm-haa
    > typed before or after
    > this subject hathaa-l madh.uc
    > المسألة خلافية، ولكن الأكثرين على أن التنوين يوضع على ما قبل الألف
    > ?'amsaa'alah xalaafiiyah of contention and not the greatest that the tanawiin ?
    > it-sits? on not before alif
    > { repeat
    > ما قبل الألف
    > not before the alif ??

    No, it means "what is before the alef".

    > }
    > بل إن بعض المعاصرين يجعل الخلاف في هذه المسألة غير معتبر، ولذلك لا تجد في
    > تحقيقات القدماء من المحققين إلا وضعها قبل الألف
    > but that [it is] after 'al-m?caas.riin-contemporary {that's it because of
    > online stuff computers and line breaking} ya-jacala--it-makes 'al-xalaaf in/fiy
    > this[fem] 'al-masa'alat-i--this issue not muctaba?r--respectable
    > and because of this not ta-jad-find in rights 'al-qadma-veterans of the rights
    > but seat before the alif
    > * * *
    > الذي يحسم الخلاف في نظري
    > which severs/terminates incongruity on/about speculation
    > أن وضعها على الألف يجرّد الحرق السابق من الشكل، مع أنه أحق بالشكل
    > its seat on alif yi-jarra?d--it strips/dispatches/frees ;al-h.arq (al-h.arq is
    > a typo and should be al-h.arf character) of the previous from its figure,
    > with it the right of the figure
    > { مع أنه أحق بالشكل
    > with that ?it has? the right of the figure???

    Alshakl, Tashkil or are Arabic synonyms to vowel marks. What he is
    saying is that placing tanwin on the Alef deprives the letter before its
    from its mark, though it has more right for the mark.

    > }
    > * * *
    > هذا قد يحسم الخلاف إذا كانوا يعرون الحرف السابق من الشكل، ولكن بعضهم يشكل
    > الحرف السابق أيضا فيضع فتحة عليه.
    > This was resolved the dispute
    > if it was yi/a-caruw-n? -- ??they laid it bare/they unfounded it? -- pl if
    > they laid it bare / if they exposed it / if they debunked it? 'al-h.arf -- the
    > character
    > 'as-sabaq -- ?priority/precedence/stake min from 'ash-shakul -- the figure
    > but after them it forms al-h.arf-character together al-sabaq -- previous/
    > precedence
    > \also -- it is seated fatah on it ('the fatah is seated on it')
    > (Sorry for the rough translation; I can try to smooth it out if you want it
    > again but my response may be a little delayed as I have to go somewhere this
    > weekend well I want to go camping but I never get anything done; I did it with
    > the help of
    > This discussion is where I got my info on the tanween's sitting on the aliph
    > after being severed from the character before but this info is from one part of
    > the thread and Khaled's discussion seems thorough.

    To summarise the Arabic text you are citing (because the intermixed
    Arabic, translation and transliteration makes it very hard to follow):

    There is dispute, but the more common opinion is with placing it on the
    letter before the Alef, some contemporary [authors] dismiss the dispute
    altogether claiming that in older books only placing it before the Alef
    was ever mentioned.


     Khaled Hosny
     Arabic localiser and member of team
     Free font developer

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