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Re: Tanween variants and Unicode


Mete Kural wrote:
Hello Gregg,

From: Gregg Reynolds <gar at arabink dot com>

- Tanween ending

in meem: fathatan+superscript meem will trigger the "tamweem"
symbol, and so forth for kasratan+superscript meem and
dammatan+superscript meem. No new character code is needed, just
a protocol that explains that the combination will trigger the
corresponding glyph.

I must respectfully but vehemently object. You can't just merrily redefine the semantics of codepoints that are already well-defined. Fathatan means fathatan; any software that does not display it correctly is broken, by definition. Ditto for superscript meem. If the one follows the other, they must both be displayed.

Well that is an interesting argument but I'm wondering what the
practicality of it is. The only use case I can think of where someone
would type a tanween and then a superscript meem would be when he is
writing a document that lists various symbols used in Arabic. If he
wants to simply write these letters next to each other, then it would
be wise for him to put a space in between anyways since some of these
symbols would be stacked on top of each other otherwise. So if the
user puts a space between the tanween character and superscript meem
he can display these characters next to each other. Other than this
what else use case can you think of?

I don't think there is a "realistic" use case, but that isn't really the point. Or rather, the only realistic use case I can think of is a misspelling. But that's important: the display software should reveal the structure of the coded text accurately.

Anyway, one can't predict how users will want to use the writing system. Think mathematics or linguistics. It's easy to imagine superscript meem symbolizing some concept. Tanween I don't know, it's impossible to predict creative uses of these symbols.

For sukun I can definitely imagine somebody wanting to place it above a tanween mark.

In any case, the fundamental issue is simply that redefining the semantics of established characters is a non-starter. In addition, this proposal sounds pretty close to a spelling standardization, which is outside the scope of Unicode.

If you're planning on proposing something like this to the Unicode crowd I suggest you bring some robust body armour, 'cause I think they're going to either completely ignore you or start hurling tomatoes.


This canonical equivalence of fathatan with fatha+fatha, etc. is personally not very important for me. This is one of the things Tom wants to propose and feels strongly about. At this point I haven't comprehended the real importance for this canonical equivalence so I would suggest you direct your questions about this one to Tom.

Ok.  Who's Tom?  Do you mean Thomas Milo?