Hebrew need for another mark in unicode - Sheva Na, Dagesh Hazeq

Yeshurun KubiYeshurun Kubi Posts: 11
edited December 2018 in Font Technology
On Hebrew there is a need for another mark on the unicode, but there no formal unicode for it.
Actually this need is more like a stylish need, cause it not a new form - just the same form that notes the way of pronouncing it on a context condition.
For example: the 'a' letter sounds different at the word 'car' and at the word 'cat'. So i have made a spacial 'a' to note the reader that on the word 'cat' is sounds more like an 'e':

This is not a real example, just a way of looking to understand this thing on Hebrew.
The Unicode.org did that on Hebrew for the standard mark QAMATZ [sounds like 'a'] adding Qamats Qatan [sounds like 'o'] - and really it is just a stylish different and not real new mark form:

On the Unicode.org:
05B8 ◌ָ HEBREW POINT QAMATS
used generically or as qamats gadol in orthography which distinguishes that from qamats qatan
05C7 ◌ׇ hebrew point qamats qatan
But there is another two marks that have the same need:
For the foraml SHEVA [u+05B0] there is a need for SHEVA NA - to note that it sounds like 'e'.

And i have found a letter to the Unicode.org asking them to do so.
The second is for the formal DAGESH [u+05BC] there is a need for DAGESH HAZAQ to note that it sounds more 'strong'.

The question:

My question is what should font designers do meanwhile - as long as there is no formal unicode for it?
It it not good just putting it on Private Area category, cause it will not get the LTR bidi direction.

One most appreciated font designer for Hebrew made a 'liga' feature that replaces a sequence of two SHEVA marks to SHEVA NA that he designed on the General Punctuation category [at U+200C that formaly is Zero Width Non-Joiner].
So it looks not like the right way of doing it.

I thought that the proper way for that is putting it on the Private Area category, and applying a Swash [swsh] feature for it.

So... what to you say what is the best way of doing it?

Comments

  • There is another nikkud (Hebrew for vocalization mark) that should be first on the list: the chataf kamatz katan ("reduced kamatz katan"), which is considered an essential “balancing” phoneme in liturgical Hebrew (see attached sample). Typographically speaking, the kamatz katan has little value if there is no chataf kamatz katan—a situation parallel to the regular (called gadol = greater) kamatz and the chataf kamatz, both of which are in the standard Hebrew Unicode.


    The kamatz katan, chataf kamatz katan, sh’va na, and dagesh hazak were not used in the Masoretic texts of the Hebrew Bible, which were written in what is referred to as the Tiberian System of vocalization (nikkudot = vowels, plural.) and cantillation (taamim = chanting trope). The system was developed in Tiberias in the 9th-11th centuries C.E. They are, rather, latter-day notions. No such typographic differentiations appeared before the 19th century, and only then in grammatical texts (Gesenius, et al.) The earliest grammatical work to mention them are the ones included in the 1546 collection Dikdukim by Elijah Levita, which includes six or so major grammatical treatises of the early 16th century. But from these you can come away with ideas that suggest there may be as many as 10 forms of the sh’va! It’s very esoteric and, for modern users, might make matters more obscure than they are already.

    In my work for the recent official prayerbooks for the Conservative and Reform congregations (worldwide, though mostly U.S.), we have included the chataf kamatz katan and, in the Conservative prayerbook for Sabbath and festivals, the sh’va na—however, not the dagesh hazak. Since all of the Hebrew fonts were made by me and are held privately, I found my own workarounds, using ccmp and GSUB with glyphs in the Private Area. Since the fonts are not for sale, I felt no need to petition the Unicode Consortium, though I did look into it. Because we use modern punctuation with Hebrew liturgical (not biblical) texts, I always add a Hebrew set that operates through a locl feature. I use special typing sequences to access the out-of-unicode glyphs via GSUB.

    To give credit where credit is due, I should say that I worked on some of these solutions with Ben Kiel.

    One more thing: readers of liturgical Hebrew outside of Israel require the use of the meteg (see sample above) to mark non-ultimate syllable stresses. Israeli type designers who include nikkud never include it, expect in the rare instances of fonts with cantillation makes, in which the meteg has a different function (and is called a siluq). They should.


  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,600
    In the absence of an encoding solution, relying only on glyph processing options and possibly higher level text markup (e.g. XML), I would suggest using a Stylistic Set or Character Variant feature applied to the existing sheva and dagesh mark characters. As you say, these are stylistic variants of the vowel and gemination marks intended to indicate different punctuation, so it makes sense to handle them in stylistic glyph features in the absence of a standardised encoding.
  • Yeshurun and Scott-Martin: you can propose the addition of these characters directly to Unicode. The Consortium site has a page explaining how to do this. You can also contact organizations that work with Hebrew language to prepare a joint proposal.

    It is good to search existing proposals both to verify if the same characters are not already proposed and to see examples of successful proposals. Maybe a direct contact with Michael Everson —the researcher who has more proposals approved by Unicode— could provide additional information and guidance.

    And, while no Unicode addition is available, Hudson's idea about Stylistic Set or Character Variant is surely the best provisory solution.

  • For I am not a font designer, if find it hard to understand which feature to use:
    1. Why not using the 'swash' feature? [as the font designer might want several designs for it]
    2. Why not using the 'salt' [Stylistic Alternates] feature?
    3. Character Variant feature - did you mean 'cv01' - 'cv99'?
    4. I think not all typing software's supports this Character Variant feature 
  • Thank you, John and Igor. The Character Variant feature is certainly an option, while the use of Stylistic Sets is not, as it does not offer a case-by-case option. All the of characters mentioned by Yeshurun and me coexist with the standard set, not “in place of” throughout a document or paragraph.

    Yeshurun, I have used the Swash feature in some fonts to engage alternative punctuation. It’s perfectly effective, though I don’t think it would work for alternative diacritics for the reason stated above regarding Stylistic Sets.

    There may be yet one more nikkud that should be included in the Unicode: the patach g’nuvah, which is a regular patach (05B7) that’s offset to the right when it appears under a hei or chet that is the final letter in a word. I have automated the placement through substitution strings (hei-patach-spacehei-patach-period[etc.]). It may be a more elegant solution than having a separate Unicode designation. But then again, the Unicode for Hebrew contains many glyphs that could have been achieved by other means. I suspect that that was the result of the Unicode having come into existence before OpenType, from which it tries to remain independent.

  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,600
    The Character Variant feature is certainly an option, while the use of Stylistic Sets is not, as it does not offer a case-by-case option. All the of characters mentioned by Yeshurun and me coexist with the standard set, not “in place of” throughout a document or paragraph.
    In this regard, the Character Variant and Stylistic Set features would function in exactly the same way: you would have to selectively apply the feature only in those places where you wanted the variant form. This could be done either manually or, if phonological rules can be defined, using scripting.

    To be clear, once again, I am only suggesting this as a work around in the absence of distinct Unicode codepoints for these variant marks. Obviously the better way to handle this would be to write proposal documents to have these variant marks encoded.

  • John, there is an important aspect of working with type in large documents that type designers, OT engineers, and application designers seldom take into account: the ease of access of certain glyphs and features in the workflow. In InDesign, where I spend much of my time, there are three steps to get to a Stylistic Set: a pull-down, a secondary pull-down, then the selection of the desired Stylistic Set. It’s a lot faster to simply make a selection in the glyph palette, and easier still to add an extraneous glyph (an equals sign, for example) to each occurrence of a special glyph that will actuate an automatic substitution. Of course, one has to add this to the substitution table, but that needs to be done just once.

    Poor implementation of OT features in InDesign is a major problem for type designers. I remember that, some years ago, there was an organized effort to get Adobe to change their OT interfaces, but nothing came of it. I also remember that the panel they convened did not include a single person who one might consider to be an expert typesetter.

  • In my opinion the fastest wan to pus a shevana or dagesh hazak is:
    sheva + sheva = shevana
    dagesh + dagesh = dagesh hazak
    Both in CCMP feature.
    This work in InDesign but not in other programs.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,600
    In InDesign, where I spend much of my time, there are three steps to get to a Stylistic Set: a pull-down, a secondary pull-down, then the selection of the desired Stylistic Set.

    In InDesign, you can assign a Stylistic Set feature to a Character Style, which gives you a single click from a high level menu to apply the style. I believe it is even possible to map a Character Style to a keyboard shortcut.
  • You can also just map all OpenType features to keyboard shortcuts and ignore going through the menu hierarchies.
  • Yeshurun KubiYeshurun Kubi Posts: 11
    edited December 2018
    In my opinion the fastest wan to pus a shevana or dagesh hazak is:
    sheva + sheva = shevana
    dagesh + dagesh = dagesh hazak
    Both in CCMP feature.
    This work in InDesign but not in other programs.
    This is not a good way:
    1. Messing and changing the text, just to get a certain glyph.
    2. Formally it is not a valid combination, 2 diacritic one after the other - check here.
  • Am I the only one who considers it a bad idea to assign meaning to subtly different stylistic elaborations of a mark? Why not chose something unambiguous? E.g., replace the dots with horizontal lines in sh'va and dagesh, and give the kamatz a second horizontal line at its bottom...
  • Yeshurun KubiYeshurun Kubi Posts: 11
    edited January 1
    Am I the only one who considers it a bad idea to assign meaning to subtly different stylistic elaborations of a mark? Why not chose something unambiguous? E.g., replace the dots with horizontal lines in sh'va and dagesh, and give the kamatz a second horizontal line at its bottom...
    That is an option that have been used in that kind of way on some prayer books years ago.
    But in the past 10 years it have been changed for it is more comfortable for the 'reader'.
    So now it is a regular thing that most people are use to it on prayer books and Bible
    This way people are more aware to this change, that is important in prayer and Bible, but less important while speaking.
  • This is not a good way:
    1. Messing and changing the text, just to get a certain glyph.
    2. Formally it is not a valid combination, 2 diacritic one after the other - check here.
    As I sad this work in InDesign and does not and other programs.
    Yes, this changes the texts but it is easy to fix them using find/change.
    I can’t see a fastest way to do this.
  • Yeshurun and Scott-Martin: you can propose the addition of these characters directly to Unicode. The Consortium site has a page explaining how to do this. You can also contact organizations that work with Hebrew language to prepare a joint proposal.

    It is good to search existing proposals both to verify if the same characters are not already proposed and to see examples of successful proposals. Maybe a direct contact with Michael Everson —the researcher who has more proposals approved by Unicode— could provide additional information and guidance.

    And, while no Unicode addition is available, Hudson's idea about Stylistic Set or Character Variant is surely the best provisory solution.

    Hi Igor,
    It's already done and already rejected:
    https://unicode.org/L2/L2016/16086-sheva-na.pdf
    Feliz ano novo para você e todos aqui.
    Happy New Year to all here.
  • Igor FreibergerIgor Freiberger Posts: 137
    edited January 2
    This may be not as bad as it seems.

    The rejected proposal does not follow the standard Unicode asks for. To be properly considered, a proposal needs to (1) present a set of information about what, where, how and why would be encoded, with as much usage references as possible; and (2) fill a form with a set of information accordingly the internal Unicode terms and standards.

    Maybe a new proposal for this, but following the Unicode conditions, could be accepted. Two samples, a simple and a complex, are attached to give a better idea of how they expect to be a proposal.

    A great 2019 also for you and all fellows in TD! (And I hope the encoding idea of these Hebrew marks could advance and become fruitful.)
  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 319
    The style of that proposal "blew me away" :)
Sign In or Register to comment.