From: Philippe Verdy <>
Date: Sun, 21 Aug 2011 23:26:44 +0200

2011/8/21 Arno Schmitt <>:
> Philippe,
> Philippe> The rule relative to the shadda is so strong that this is even one of
> Philippe> the very first thing you're taught in some didactic tutorials on how
> Philippe> to read Arabic.
> the rule is not valid for most orthographies of the Koran

OK, but are these Koranic variants semantically different ? May be the
placement rule was not so strong in the history. For modern Arabic,
the two placements will be perceived as equivalent with a strong
preference for the raised vowel in presence of the consonnantal shadda
modifier. In fact, those two placements should probably have been
unified in a single codepoint, with only a variation selector for
maintaining the vowel at the lower position. (But it's not the time
now to discuss about this disunification, even if I don't know any
contrasting example where the different placements implies distinct
semantics or readings of the long vowel, such as some dialectal

Another thing that I know is that the preferred repetition of the
vowel between the previous consonnant where it is added as a
diacritic, and the long vowel after it (using a matres lectionis
letter) is not universal: the diacritic vowel can frequently be
omitted, as it is implicit (and many texts that are supposed to be
consistant in displaying this repeitition everywhere, contain frequent
cases where this repetition is omitted ; notably when the long vowel
is an unmodified Alef "matres lectionis"). I can find many examples of
this even in modern didactic courses (I'm not sure that the omission
was made on purpose, it's probably because the diacritic vowel adds no
value, and is not mandatory anyway, when instead the presence of the
matres lectionis is absolutely required by orthographic rules in all
writing styles, including unpointed texts).

The cases where the diacritic vowel is less frequently is frequently
when this explicitly marks a vowel mutation for a declination,
feminine or plural, or to help interpret the liaison that may occur
with a nearby word. But in the middle of radicals (not altered by
vowel mutations by gammar), such repetition is frequently omitted, ony
the matres letionis long vowel letter remains. The split between
modern Arabic and Koranic texts is not so strict. I also see similar
omissions in old Koranic texts even though they are pointed with great
details (for correct reading): this superfluous implicit vowel mark
does not change the reading, and it may be more valuable to place
other diacritics than this vowel, or to use larger and more visible
glyphs for the base letter.
Received on Sun Aug 21 2011 - 16:30:10 CDT

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