Re: math in arabic -- w3c mathml group looking for contributions


> Yes and no.
> Persian is what they call "Farsi", which is wrong.
> Persian is written in the Perso-Arabic "script", but is a
> completely different language from Arabic.  Urdu, Pashto, and
> Dari have some roots in Persian.
> And no, there's almost nothing common between Persian
> typography/orthography and Arabic, except for the script.
> Guess you forgot to link to article.  I can say more if you send
> that.

Sorry.  The URL to the original posting on the www-math list is

That posting refers to an article that made the comment about math in
Perso-Arabic languages behaving the same.  The URL for the article is

However, I don't think you need bother with further explanation.  I
understand the main point.  For this discussion, the only thing that
really matters is the claim that math is usually typeset left-to-right
in Persian, whereas it is typeset right-to-left up to college-level
material in Perso-Arabic languages.

I have been told that math is typically typeset LTR in Hebrew by a
number of people, but you are my only source of information about

When we were working on MathML 2, we contacted some Arabic-speaking
mathematicians who left me with the impression that except for a small
amount of very elementary math, math was LTR in Arabic too.  But the
truth seems to be closer to math always being done RTL in Arabic until
maybe college or beyond.  Having known a lot of mathematicians, I now
suspect this was just myopia, and they were counting everything
beneath multivariable calculus as "a small amount of very elementary

Just to be sure I'm not making the same mistake again, are you fairly
sure math is done RTL in Persian even in the elementary grades?
I'm thinking of things like "2 + 5 = 7" or even "2 apples + 5 apples =
7 apples".  At a minimum, I would think this last example would have
to be bidi...


Dr. Robert Miner                      
W3C Math Interest Group Co-Chair                      651-223-2883
Design Science, Inc.   "How Science Communicates"

Received on Friday, 5 November 2004 17:25:18 UTC