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From: "Don Osborn" <dzo@xxxxxx>
To: qalam @ yahoogroups . com
Subject: Re: African languages in Arabic script?
Date: Sat, 05 Apr 2003 00:07:22 -0000

Nearly two years later ... it would be interesting to know what became of the project, and indeed what languages were involved. There are apparently often variations among and even within languages on the character forms used.

A brief list of characters may be of interest to those working on Ajami / extended-Arabic - see for link to the .pdf document and spaces for comment. Comments on usage and form are sought. TIA...

Don Osborn

(NB- This is in response to message 231; other responses were nos. 232 & 235)

--- In qalam @ yahoogroups . com, Bob_Hallissy@s... wrote:
> Do any of you have any knowledge of how Arabic script has been adapted to
> African languages?
> I have a question from someone who wants to know how they should write
> prenasalization and more than 3 vowels in Arabic script. Below is an
> excerpt from his message to me.
> If you have any knowledge of other languages that have coped with these
> issues, or perhaps some resources where some of these issues are discussed,
> I would be grateful for the input.
> TIA,
> Bob
> <excerpt>
> We would like to write in Arabic script, but found the characters
> furnished by Unicode slightly awkward: They provide plenty of
> variations for some characters, sometimes even overload them with dots
> and things (like for kaf), but no variation whatsoever for others
> (like mim). And especially, I couldn't find possibilities for vowels
> (we need e and o [in addition to a u i], both long and short). Our biggest
> problems besides the vowels are to find a possibility to represent mb
> (prenasalized b) and ny (palatal nasal).
> Our folks would like to avoid combinations of consonants (like mim and
> ba following each other to represent mb) as well as "re-"using
> unneeded characters of Standard Arabic (as that would necessitate
> re-learning when the person wants to make the transition from reading
> the mother tongue to Standard Arabic).
> So what we would really like is a mim with a dot underneath for mb and
> something like possibly a nun with a little v above for ny. The
> problem with the latter though is that we also look at the little v
> above a consonant to represent the short e (and the little hat above
> for the short o, the prolonged forms with ya and waw respectively).
> </excerpt>

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