Re: Persian decimal separator

From: Roozbeh Pournader (
Date: Thu Nov 16 2000 - 09:49:06 EST

On Thu, 16 Nov 2000, Michael (michka) Kaplan wrote:

> The only question I have here is that no one was *ever* suggesting a slash
> be used for the decimal separator. The suggestion was made for the CURRENCY
> separator. Since the question was asked (and all of the answers were made)
> mentioning the decimal separator only, I would have to wonder whether they
> were answering the actual issue that was under consideration here?

They were answering the same issue. No one considers the decimal and
currency separator different here, and that has been the reason behind
querying about the decimal separator only. They are named the same
in Persian, "Momayyez".

> I have two acquaintances (not connected to MS) who speak Farsi, neither is a
> linguistic authority or pretends to be. Both recognize the slash as a
> currency separator, but one of them believes it to be inappropriate to use
> on non-Farsi currency amounts and both of them admit the matter is mostly
> theoretical since the Farsi currency does not currently see a need for a
> currency separator (something we discussed last time, I believed). This is
> hardly conclusive proof, but if non-technical native speakers can cast doubt
> on an issue, then obviously there is reason to believe there may be an issue
> worth investigating?

Yes, and that has been the reason behind my investigation. As I told,
slash is acceptable as a decimal separator, when an appropriate glyph is
not available. I also agree with your sources that first, Iranian Rials
won't need any currency separator, since we don't use fractions of Rial
anymore. Bank accounts and all other systems truncate the amount to whole
Rials (you may know, 1 US Dollar is equal to about 8500 Rials).

I can also investigate the problem of using the Persian decimal separator
for foreign currencies, but if you want to know about my opponion, you
should use the Persian decimal separator if you are using Arabic-Indic
digits, and you should use the period if you're using the European digits.
Neither slash nor the Persian decimal separator is acceptable between
European digit shapes.

> I am not saying that you or they are wrong and would never pretend to have a
> true opinion here other than to say I DON'T KNOW (until and unless I live in
> Iran and learn Farsi to the point where I can respond to the question!). But
> I am unsure how a company (such as Microsoft, which currently lists the
> slash as the currency separator for Farsi) can proceed to consider evidence
> that may well be tainted by having the wrong question asked? Clearly there
> was some basis for believing that the currency separator was a slash, and
> there should be a compelling basis for believing that this was a mistake?

The basis exists. There are many kinds of these common typographical
mistakes in Iran, because of the education system. The professors do not
bring the attention of students to these issues, believing these to be
unimportant issues. Only curious people will notice these. We are only a
developing country, you know.

As examples of this, I can tell you about the common mistake of ommitting
spaces in the texts written using traditional typewriters. Some people
could not understand why a space is needed to separate words when they
do not join the consecutive words. And I'm talking about only 10 years
ago. The situation is reversed now in case of many computer programs that
do not respect ZWNJ, and many computer users now use spaces instead of
non-joiners. The simply do not know the difference.

Thank you for your attention,

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