consensus on TATWEEL

"Martin J. Dürst" duerst at
Fri Apr 17 10:50:03 CEST 2009

On 2009/04/14 1:19, Andrew Sullivan wrote:

> Even though my French composition is no longer any good, I still find
> it entirely surprising that the TATWEEL character is in any way
> implicated in French orthography.  I'm pretty sure that in 10 years of
> instruction in French, I never once encountered the TATWEEL.  Indeed,
> until the topic came up in this working group, I was entirely unaware
> of the existence of anything in the universe named TATWEEL.  So I
> wonder how it is possible that the inclusion of the TATWEEL in the
> exceptions table to make it DISALLOWED is in any way related to
> supporting French spelling.

Of course TATWEEL has no relationship to French spelling :-).

Even putting that fact aside, this is an extremely badly picked fight.
While the Arabic script community isn't unanimous, nobody has claimed 
that this character is in anyway related to or required for Arabic 
script orthography for any language. Also, it is not required for 
high-quality Arabic script rendering. The only point of contention has 
been "we don't need it, but do we really need to forbid it?".

Also, as explained already in more detail by Ken, it is purely an 
artifact of early computer implementations of the Arabic script, an 
artifact of a poor, half-baked technical approach to tradition, art, and 

Regards,    Martin.
#-# Martin J. Dürst, Professor, Aoyama Gakuin University
#-#   mailto:duerst at

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