Re: Archaic Pashto letter

From: Ken Whistler <>
Date: Fri, 09 Dec 2011 15:02:26 -0800

On 12/9/2011 9:06 AM, Andreas Prilop wrote:
> Arabic letter U+0682 shows two dots above.
> It has the cryptic remark "not used in modern Pashto".
> But was it ever used?

To understand where the "cryptic" remark came from, you need to know
more about the history of the character in the standard.

U+0682 was encoded in Unicode 1.0. I don't have the material in hand
right at the moment to track down its original source, but for these kinds
of extensions to Arabic dating back to Unicode 1.0, it most likely in some
poorly resolved handwritten or photocopied source labelled "Pashto"
but without much analysis.

However researching the exact details for that turns out, in Unicode 1.0
the character was published with a note "Pashto".

On February 13, 2003, Roozbeh Pournader sent a note around with a number
of comments of Arabic character extensions and annotations. Among those
notes was the statement:

C6. For 0682: The comment is wrong. This is not used in modern Pashto
     (just rechecked with my Pashto dictionaries). I am back from Kabul
     doing a study of computer requirements of Pashto and didn't see this
     anywhere. I guess we should send a public email and ask if anybody
     knows what this is. [Just an alert. Don't do anything for now.]

Then on March 19, 2003, Roozbeh followed up with another note:

> 3. Comment for 0682: Remove 'Pashto'. This is not used in
> modern Pashto.
> Never. And not in loanwords. (May possibly be old Pashto.)

Based on that note, and with no further clarification provided by anyone
on the issue, I and the other editors modified the annotation in the
Unicode *4.0*
names list, so that it read "not used in modern Pashto".

It has remained that way in the names list since that date.

If Andreas (or anyone else) has better information, that can certainly be
submitted, and the editors can then work to further clarify any
annotation for
the character.

My own suspicion is that the original form from Unicode 1.0 may have been
a hard-to-interpret glyph alternative for 0681. Note another note on the
unicode email list from 2001, from Vladimir Ivanov. This note doesn't
0682 specifically, but does raise questions about the exact nature and shape
of the diacritic above the hah for dze in Pashto usage:


Date: Fri, 8 Jun 2001 07:27:11 +0400

My Pashto informants call it "dI paxto alifbe", saying it has 10 extra =
Letter "dze" is represented in Unicode by U+0681 "Arabic letter heh with =
hamza above",
though the sign above heh is not exactly hamza. It is a zigzag-like sign =
of the same height as hamza, but they are well distinguished. My =
informants could not recall any special name for it.
If you use "heh with hamza above", people usually accept it as a =
substitute, saying that "computer is not able to build a real Pashto =
letter" (?!).
I could not find such a letter in Unicode. I would be glad to hear some =
comments on it.

Vladimir Ivanov

Received on Fri Dec 09 2011 - 17:08:38 CST

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