Hebrew with Arabic-like pointing

From: Stephan Stiller <stephan.stiller_at_gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 21 Sep 2012 11:31:28 -0700

Hi folks,

I quite randomly encountered a book in my library with an orthography I
can't make sense of. The book is titled {دلالة اﳊائـرين (= دلالة
الحائرين)}/{דלאלה࣫ אלחאירין}and printed in Jerusalem ("ירושלים") and
"Palestine" (so it says on an interior page). In our library this is
call number B759 .M33 D35 1930
<http://searchworks.stanford.edu/view/4663543> (I apologize if this is
not helpful to everyone). So this seems to be Maimonides' Guide for the
Perplexed or a related work?

Opening random page 135, I see words like this:
(Here, I'm using U+08EA for one dot above and U+08EB for two
horizontally arranged dots above.)

Basically, this is the Hebrew alphabet with the following Arabic
diacritics or special characters: vowel marks (on the page I see at
least: a, u, doubled a, sukūn), shaddah, hamza above, in-line/medial
hamza, (the Hebrew) alef-lamed ligature, one dot above, two dots above
(only above Hebrew letter he), maddah (only above Hebrew letter alef).

This looks to me like Arabic written with Hebrew base letters, with some
obvious mappings:
* alef+maddah <- alif+maddah
* he with two dots above <- ة (tāʾ marbūṭah)
On the page I don't see candidates for doubled u or doubled i (two dots
above appear only above Hebrew letter he). It is unclear what the one
dot above stands for; I first thought kasrah (= vowel i) (because ḍammah
(vowel u) does occur on the page, but I don't see kasrah), but then I
see the "one dot above" diacritic only above gimel, dalet, kaf, tsadi,
tav – so perhaps a better guess would be that it's to compensate for the
Hebrew alphabet having 6 fewer letters than Arabic (counting hamza/alif
only once here, as is customary– there seems incidentally to be
disagreement on the cultural question of which of these two is
considered a letter).

And I know for sure that this isn't the Babylonian, Palestinian, or
Samaritan niqqud (system of pointing/vocalization).

Does anyone know what this is? One question is the language/"dialect" &
choice of orthography, another is for which audience (linguistic group)
this was written.

It seems like it's possible to represent this in Unicode, but it's a bit
cumbersome with those script-external diacritics.

Received on Fri Sep 21 2012 - 13:33:40 CDT

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