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Re: in the NEW YORK TIMES today, report of a USA patent for a method to make the Arabic language easier to read/write/typeset

From: mhossein-AT-sfu.ca
Date: 15 Mar 2004 21:16:47 UTC   (01:16:47 PM in author's locale)
To: graphics-AT-lists.graphicslist.org
Where can we see the sample?

On Mon, 15 Mar 2004 12:34:40 -0500 graphics-AT-lists.graphicslist.org wrote:
> In the NEW YORK TIMES today
> comes a report of a USA patent for a new version of written Arabic
> letters, designed to make them easier to read/write/typeset without
> making them too different from traditional Arabic script:
> www.nytimes.com/2004/03/15/technology/15patent.html -
> The piece includes a photo of the new style.
> Some quotes from the piece ... "To counter his daughter's aversion to
> learning the language of her heritage, Saad D. Abulhab devised a
> simplified alphabet. It may prove useful in computers as well. ... The
> hurdles of learning Arabic as a second language are daunting. Arabic is
> written right to left, and each letter can take one of four forms,
> depending on where it appears in a word. Finally, Arabic is printed and
> written only in flowing script, never as individual letters. Those
> obstacles can be overwhelming for students of the language - and for
> computer programmers trying to render Arabic characters on screen - at
> a time when there is a critical need for clear communication between
> the West and the Arabic-speaking world. In fact, it can be a challenge
> even for some native Arabic speakers to learn to read and write in
> their mother tongue. That is what led Saad D. Abulhab to patent a
> simplified Arabic alphabet that he says is easier to learn. ... " ...
> my 6-year-old daughter did not want to learn to read Arabic because she
> said it was written backwards," said Mr. Abulhab, an Iraqi-American ...
> "That gave me the idea to make it bidirectional, with letters that went
> both ways but didn't lose their characteristics," he said. "It's your
> choice how to use them. ... Mr. Abulhab ... designed letters that took
> one form wherever they appeared in a word, could be printed in block
> style, and could appear as separate letters instead of connected in
> cursive form. That alphabet could then be written from left to right
> for those more comfortable with the pattern of English, or from right
> to left in the traditional Arabic manner. ... he does not want his
> invention to be thought of as a replacement Arabic alphabet. "I love
> Arabic calligraphy," he said. "I like to think of this as a variation
> on traditional Arabic. It's a good tool to break the barrier of fear
> for someone to learn without right-to-left direction or changing
> shapes. ... It's based on Arabic calligraphy so the Arabic-reading eye
> will recognize it ... "
> In designing his alphabet, Mr. Abulhab drew on script from 22
> languages based on Arabic, like Persian, Kurdish and Urdu. ... [In]
> traditional Arabic ... each Arabic letter has four shapes, for example,
> depending on where it appears in a word - at the beginning, middle, end
> or by itself. Mr. Abulhab said his goal was to create one universal
> shape for each letter. The shape-shifting nature of Arabic letters also
> means that computer software needs a lot of extra programming power to
> render an Arabic font. "For Arabic or Hebrew, you need software that
> goes from right to left," Mr. Abulhab said. "For Arabic, in addition,
> you need to add a shaping engine. When you type a letter, for instance,
> it has a shape. But when you type the next letter, the first one
> changes completely. ... To my eyes it's very annoying." Mr. Abulhab
> hopes his alphabet will ease matters for Arabic-language students and
> software programmers. He says he believes that students who learn to
> read Arabic with his alphabet will more easily progress to reading
> traditional ... printed script. " ... it should be good enough for
> newspapers," he said. "It's a good first step. They could learn the
> shapes and the shapes are pretty universal." Mr. Abulhab calls his
> alphabet Arabetics, a word he says he coined "to be more descriptive
> and inclusive of people who speak languages other than Arabic, like
> Persian or Urdu." He also received a design patent for a font - called
> Mutamathil, meaning "symmetric and uniform" - based on the alphabet.
> ... in informal tests most Arabic, Urdu and Persian speakers had no
> trouble reading texts that used his generic alphabet. ... "
> Yours for better letters,
> Kate Gladstone - Handwriting Repair
> kate-AT-global2000.net
> www.global2000.net/handwritingrepair
> 325 South Manning Boulevard
> Albany, New York 12208-1731 USA
> telephone 518/482-6763
> you can order books through my site!
> (Amazon.com link -
> I get a 5% - 15% commission on each book sold)
> ----
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