Christian Palestinian Aramaic

P.D. Myers pdm42 at
Thu Oct 9 09:21:37 CDT 2014

Hello all,

The Unicode manual, p. 384 
( states:

"Christian Palestinian Aramaic. Manuscripts of this dialect employ a 
script that
is akin to Estrangela. It can be considered a subcategory of 

However, I am working on a CPA font developed for a team who have been 
transcribing a CPA palimpsest which has several more joining characters 
than are found in Syriac scripts.

Examples: in the palimpsest both waw (ܘ) and hey (ܗ) are double joining 
characters, whereas in Serto these letters are only right joining.

1. Is it possible, using OpenType tables in FontLab 5, to produce a font 
that renders this behaviour on desktop software? When I script the 
tables as standard Syriac features, then these letters do not join in 
word processing software (Word, Pages, or Mellel). However, if I script 
the tables without using the preset Syriac features, I can get all 
letters to join together, but then some mission-critical functions in 
word processing software are not available (for example, the 
zero-width-joining character does not force a joining ligature—this is 
needed to force joining characters next to punctuation marks used for 
text-critical purposes). The documentation for FL5 has led me to the 
conclusion that this is an insurmountable problem, as the join-behaviour 
is fixed by the Unicode standard (in other words, I can't treat a 
Unicode character as double joining, unless it is defined as double 
joining by the standard). Am I correct in this conclusion?

2. Is there a case to be made here for CPA to be given its own unicode 

Kind regards,
Pete Myers

Rev Peter D. Myers
PhD Candidate Cambridge University, Hebrew transcription in Greek script
Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Wolfson College
pdm42 at
07930 22 22 17

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