Re: Rendering Isolated Syriac characters

From: Patrick Andries (
Date: Thu May 18 2000 - 02:05:41 EDT

----- Original Message -----
From: "Timothy Partridge" <>

> According to page 203 of Unicode 3.0 each Syriac character (apart from
> alaph) is represented by up to four possible contextual glyph forms.
> Is this correct?

I also wonder.

> According to The World's Writing Systems (Daniels and Bright),
> page 506, kaph, mim, nun in the Eastern style have a different glyph shape
when they are entirely isolated from other letters, e.g. when identifying
> parts of a list in the style
> a)
> b)
> c)
> they take on an isolated form that is distinct from the nominal (or
> form that results from being the final letter following a right joining
> The isolated form looks the same as the sequences kaph kaph, mim mim, and
> nun nun respectively.

I have the same impression. I have a source (in French, that indicates the same kind
of glyph variant in modern-day West Syriac (Serto) for isolated nun and
kaph. It does not use it in the name « nun » found in the alphabet table
where it uses the "nominal" nun (after waw which is right-joining). However,
when the same letters are not surrounded by any other letters they then take
the « isolated » shape (see the phonetic table). I suspect therefore that
the same phenomenon takes place in Serto and modern Aramaic (though mim is
not mentioned in my source). Five different glyph types, then ? Another
trick ?

Patrick Andries
Dorval (Québec)

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