consensus Call: TATWEEL

"Martin J. Dürst" duerst at
Sun Mar 29 10:12:53 CEST 2009

Hello Eric,

I understand you are concerned that Tatweel might be needed for the
ability to render Arabic script in a falling rather than horizontal
style, and that there might be other 'characters' needed for high-
quality rendering.

As far as I understand from Tom Milo, a top expert in Arabic typography
implementations, really good Arabic typography requires a lot of 
contextual rules. But he never mentioned the Tatweel.

The more I think about it, the more I actually get the impression that 
the Tatweel is very much linked to horizontal/linear Arabic rendering,
and not of much use if any for falling or other higher-level kinds
of renderings. Even for horizontal rendering, the Tatweel is nothing
more than a crude clutch, as Ken already said.

Regards,    Martin.

On 2009/03/23 8:25, Ebw wrote:
> John,
> It is clear from your response that you didn't see where my concern
> lies. If, in our choices of allowable code points, we constrain Arabic
> (and Farsi and ...) to choices which look correct to Latin
> expectations, non-descending rather than descending, inaesthetically
> dense rather than combining and extended, to "2nd gen" computer Arabic
> (and ...) -- then we may be "solving" one problem by creating another.
> The choice of which "harm" to choose is easy if all we know is one
> "harm", and easier when that "harm" is "spoofing" (or last year's
> child porn or the year before that's Arab terrorist or the year before
> that's WMD), but we do have the choice to ask if the people who create
> the basic tools for writing Arabic (and ...) need what we are asked to
> ban, and because of our shared Latin (and other scripts lacking one or
> both of the properties, descent and vertical and horizontal
> interaction) limitations, simply fail to appreciate.
> If you really do think this is "bold" and "italic" you simply aren't
> getting it.
> Eric
> Sent from my iPhone, painfully.
> On Mar 22, 2009, at 3:41 PM, John C Klensin<klensin at>  wrote:
>> --On Sunday, March 22, 2009 11:43 -0500 Ebw
>> <ebw at>  wrote:
>>> ...
>>> I propose we ask modern (3rd gen) Arabic (and Farsi, etc)
>>> typographers   for guidance. I'm not certain the UTC
>>> motivation is sufficient, nor am   I certain the ASIWG, the
>>> process of which I find insufficiently   trasparent, and
>>> unacceptably vendor-specific, hasn't overlooked use in   their
>>> excessively narrow construction of text labels as "necessary
>>> words" with the excessive constraints arise from the incorrect
>>> statement of purpose.
>> Eric,
>> "Consult typographers" sets off an alarm for me.   Unicode isn't
>> supposed to be about typography and certainly domain names
>> historically have not been.   If we do get ourselves into a
>> situation in which we are consulting typographers, don't we need
>> to go back and examine the list of Unicode compatibility
>> characters  --many of which seem to be about typographic and
>> other subtle variations on base characters -- to figure out
>> which ones the typographers think should be distinguishable
>> characters (not mapped or prohibited)?
>> For example, I would certainly like boldface and italics in my
>> domain names, even though I recognize that they would cause far
>> more confusion and problems than they could possibly be worth.
>> I'd also like to be able to utilize the full range of variations
>> and artistry in, e.g., Arabic and Chinese calligraphy.  And I'd
>> like a pony :-(
>> Vint,
>> Yes. I agree with disallowing Tatweel and its N'Ko counterpart.
>> I do not believe that we should disallow one and not the other.
>>     john
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