arabic is a cursive language so the space between connected letters is generally arbitrary. something that survived into typewriters and even digital arabic in a limited capacity is the ability to extend words. for example


are all the same word. here's the same trick on the erika.

i say a limited capacity because the way it works on the typewriter is there's a separate key for the "word extension" glyph. it works but its not terribly interesting. the same is true of Unicode, where there's a code point (U+0640 ARABIC TATWEEL) which plays the same role.

compare that to the jaw dropping beauty of Ottoman maps that use the elasticity of the script to make labels of things cover and follow the thing they label. digital text rendering cant really do this...

@nasser interesting!
Are these words UTF-8 equal? I mean, would searching for the first one return a hit for each version?

@nasser I was wondering about this
If I'm not mistaken, letters can also take on different shapes depending on their place in a word, how does the typewriter handle this?

@gaeel you are not mistaken! there are different keys for the same letter in different places and you have to know to hit them. very inconvenient if you ask me but people put up with it apparently! example attached with three keys circled for ـعـ ع عـ ـع , all the same letter in different positions

@nasser that is a strange arrangement indeed, i would have assumed something like shifting like for upper case
that must take some getting used to

@gaeel it's funny because the language does not have cases, but yeah the shift key gets used for alternate forms of letters. for some two forms is not enough as in the case of ع above.

@nasser oh hey, i learned this before from your arabic lisp language video!

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