Re: Bidi Classification (of Egyptian)

From: Michael Everson (
Date: Thu Aug 14 1997 - 16:41:34 EDT

Ar 09:49 -0700 1997-08-14, scríobh Rick McGowan:
>Mr. Everson asks some nice questions about Egyptian...
>Q. Issue: Shall Egyptian be given a default directionality?
>A. YES.
>Q. How do we decide what it is?
>A. Call it Left to Right by default.

On what grounds? John Jenkins thinks that Etruscan should be RL since it
was, but I'm trying to find out whether modern scholars care about this.

LR is simpler for English-, French-, and German- speaking scholars of
course. My understanding is that the bulk of the ancient texts is RL for
Egyptian, but since both directions are frequently used, a decision has to
be made. I guess we should have <i>grounds</i> for such a decision.

>Q. How will it be overriden?
>A. By higher level protocol. In my opinion, the rendering order is
>actually a separate issue for Egyptian. The logical order is well
>understood, and there are more problems than just RL/LR problems with
>rendering the hieroglyphs.

Oh my, yes. I am proposing to maintain the "Alternate Formatting
characters" used in current Egyptian implementations. Watch this space for
my proposal.

>Similarly Punic, Numidian and some others exhibit a variety of
>rendering directions depending on the particular inscription &
>context. Of course they should all end up with a "reasonable"
>default when we get around to encoding them.

I think the living Tamazight script can be RL and LR.

Michael Everson, Everson Gunn Teoranta
15 Port Chaeimhghein Íochtarach; Baile Átha Cliath 2; Éire (Ireland)
Gutháin:  +353 1 478-2597, +353 1 283-9396
27 Páirc an Fhéithlinn; Baile an Bhóthair; Co. Átha Cliath; Éire

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