Numerical fractions written in Arabic script

Jonathan Rosenne jr at
Wed Jul 27 10:40:28 CDT 2016

Regarding Hebrew, please note in the Wikipedia page referred to:
השבר נרשם בצורה ,m/n

i.e. LTR with a slash. This is the standard usage.

Best Regards,

Jonathan Rosenne
-----Original Message-----
From: Unicode [mailto:unicode-bounces at] On Behalf Of Fr?d?ric Grosshans
Sent: Wednesday, July 27, 2016 4:04 PM
To: unicode
Subject: Re: Numerical fractions written in Arabic script

Le 27/07/2016 à 14:29, Frédéric Grosshans a écrit :
> Le 27/07/2016 à 03:12, Robert Wheelock a écrit :
>> How do Arabs, Iranians, Afghans, Pakistanis, Urdu ... all write their 
>> equivalents of common numerical fractions (consisting of a numerator, 
>> a separator character, and a denominator)?!?!
>> Considering that Arabic written script reads from right to left (like 
>> in Hebrew, Syro-Aramaic, and the fantasy language of Tsolyáni), would 
>> they use a normal right-facing foreslash (1/2), a left-facing 
>> backslash (1\2), or do they align numerator above|demoniator below a 
>> horizontal fraction bar?!?!
>> Notice that these people would use the native Arabic-based digits in 
>> them; nonewithstanding, the forms for |4 5 6| (and—sometimes—those 
>> for |2 7|) do look quite different from the canonical Arabic forms.
> The subject of modern arabic notation is quite complex, mixing RTL and 
> LTR consideration, as well as latin/arabic/greek/math mixing, with 
> several different approaches. A W3C document on this
> ( enumerates 4 styles 
> (Moroccan/Maghreb/Machrek/Persian). It also contains the following 
> paragraph, which answers your question:
>    Finally, although stacked fractions are rendered the same way in
>    both European and Arabic, bevelled fractions in RTL Arabic will
>    appear, as one would expect, with the terms in RTL order, i.e. A
>    divided by B would appear as "B/A". In some locales, the preference
>    is for the slash to also be mirrored, as "B\A". For these cases, we
>    suggest that authors employ explicit markup using the REVERSE 

Looking at wikipedia (+ some google translate) gives you some examples :

If you look at the arabic wikipedia page on fraction,
you will see the following sentence :

     .كسر عادي (بسيط): هو الكسر الذي فيه البسط أصغر من المقام، أمثلة
10/6 ، 3/2 ، 5/4

According to google translate, all the numerators are smaller than the denominator. A bit below, 2 4/5 is written :5/4 2, which is an interesting mixture of RTL and LTR, as is often the case for numbers in arabic script.

On the equivalent Persian wikipedia page, 3/4 is written ۳/۴, that is LTR 3/4 in persian digits, even if the text is RTL. The opposite convention is used.

The Hebrew (
) and Yiddish (
) equivalent pages seem to avoid the ambiguity by using exclusively vertically stacked fraction (with the excetion of π/4 in the Hebrew page)

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