Why do the Hebrew Alphabetic Presentation Forms Exist

Richard Wordingham richard.wordingham at ntlworld.com
Thu Jun 4 11:15:39 CDT 2020

On Thu, 4 Jun 2020 08:28:08 -0400
"Mark E. Shoulson via Unicode" <unicode at unicode.org> wrote:

> On 6/3/20 11:44 PM, Sławomir Osipiuk via Unicode wrote:
> >
> > A variation selector seems like a good choice here. There should be
> > a way to request from the rendering engine a specific variant of
> > the “same” character. There is precedent for that in many other 
> > characters/languages.

> This isn't a matter for a variation selector.  This is purely a 
> *scribal* or *presentation* alternation.  It has as much relevance to 
> the content of the text as choice of font.  This is a matter for a 
> stylistic alternate in the font tables.  This is *exactly* what those 
> are for!

That wasn't obvious to whoever first implemented them in MS Word.  The
feature settings for a font applied throughout the document!  There's
also a problem that application writers think one needs a friendly
interface expressed in layman's terms, whereas a fix like this is
quite likely to be described in the documentation as 'Set feature cv05
to 6 for lamedh to be bent'. It took ages to get OpenType features
supported in LibreOffice, even though they'd already implemented
Graphite features. 

Now, it has been pointed out elsewhere that for best effects, shaping
should apply to whole paragraphs.  Fortunately, applying to whole words
is usually good enough.  However, what if a word has two lamedhs, and
only is to be bent?  Are mere word-processors now up to handling that
and processing the whole word as a whole, even though different parts
have different feature settings?


More information about the Unicode mailing list