interaction of Arabic ligatures with vowel marks

Naena Guru naenaguru at
Wed Jan 8 22:43:38 CST 2014

Please see this page: (for IE, use v 2010 and up)

The font is almost all ligatures. If you copy and inspect the text, you'll
notice that it is simple romanized Singhala. I am currently in Sri Lanka
demonstrating this. The people at president's office and one of the
powerful ministers have seen it. They are elated that after all, Singhala,
the most complex of 'Abigudas' is much like a Western European language and
amazingly computer and user friendly. This is contrary to how it was
portrayed to them by local academics and technocrats causing the poor
country unnecessary debt.

The ideas of Abiguda and Complex fade away if a font is made fully
understanding Unicode's description of ligatures and how they are
implemented by OpenType (now OpenFont). I believe that Arabic and Hebrew
can follow this model so that typing the script is simplified for users
without compromising orthography.

On Wed, Jun 12, 2013 at 8:39 AM, Stephan Stiller
<stephan.stiller at>wrote:

> Hi,
> How is the placement of vowel marks around ligatures handled in Arabic
> text?
> Does anyone have good pointers on this topic?
> My guess is that this does not come up often (just like the topic of
> pointing for handwritten Hebrew), as vowel marks are mostly not added in
> ordinary text. Nonetheless, any text making heavy use of ligatures will
> from time to time need to add vowel marks for a foreign name or as a
> reading aid, and (as many of us know) the Quran is traditionally printed
> with vowel marks.
> I'm also wondering how font designers normally handle this. I think there
> are analogous questions for various ligature-heavy abugidas, so there must
> be an existing body of knowledge. There should be better answers than
> "squeeze the vowels around the consonant clusters in whatever way seems
> most intuitive". Do traditional printing presses use extra metal types for
> such glyph clusters, or do they manually add and adjust the positioning of
> vowels?
> Stephan
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