Directionality without prejudice

Chris Scaife scaife.chris at
Sat Dec 11 11:40:43 GMT 2010

Thanks for that information Yaron,  and also for your positive feedback :)
It is indeed interesting to learn about how numbers are spoken because I
don't think that Unicode standard is correct in this respect.

I do hope to proceed with my bidirectional terminal emulator, but have
discovered that I cannot make it work with things like ncurses library when
directionality on my display widget is under control of such a complicated
algorithm. Thus Gtk, Pango and Cairo display code have become a dead end :(

I am currently learning how to use the AGG library which includes excellent
support for Windows as well as Posix compliant systems. Alas it all takes
time especially because due to other situations I was not programming for a
great many years.

I'll try to get on your mailing list now, but I can't read any Hebrew or
Arabic myself and depend entirely on Google translator

Chris Scaife

On 11 December 2010 02:27, Yaron Shahrabani <sh.yaron at> wrote:

> Hey Chris! lovely article!
> To support your claims (Although I'm not a native Arabic speaker) I can add
> that in Arabic you pronounce number in the opposite direction:
> 0-10 same ol'
> 11 - Had 'Ashar / Had Ta'ash (The second form is derived from an Ancient
> Jewish Arabic colloquial spoken mostly by Jewish Iraqian living in Israel
> like my grand mother)
> 12 - Thnein Ashar / Thnein Ta'ash
> 13 - Thlat Ashar / Thlat Ta'ash
> etc.
> The difference appear from now on:
> 20 - 'Ishrin
> 21 - Wahad (one) u(and) 'Ishrin (twenty)
> 22 - Tnein (two) u 'Ishrin
> etc.
> When it comes to Hundred:
> 100 - Maia / Mia
> 101 - [Maia / Mia] u wahad
> So the reading direction changes along the way meaning that 121 would be:
> Mi'a u wahad u 'Ishrin
> That's all about counting in Arabic.
> I would consult my fellow open source activists and if needed we will
> translate your document and use it but first I have to send it there.
> Our mailing list called heb-bugzap and you can subscribe via:
> We will discuss about this matter there.
> Thank you very much,
> Yaron Shahrabani
> <Hebrew translator>
> On Fri, Dec 10, 2010 at 1:35 PM, Chris Scaife <scaife.chris at>wrote:
>> Not that long ago I started a project to make a bidirectional terminal
>> emulator according to the Unicode standards.
>> This was prompted by problems I encountered on a different project
>> I've been having a good think about directionality of text and have just
>> uploaded my R2L.html document.
>> It details my thoughts on the issues and I will greatly value any feedback
>> I get.
>> Anyone interested can find it in my original internationalization project:
>> There is also a jpg image and a css file that goes with it.
>> Thanks for reading :)
>> --
>> Ubuntu-RTL mailing list
>> Ubuntu-RTL at
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