MathML in Arabic

Hello All.

One area where MathML is lacking is a specification of how it should
be used in right-to-left languages, particularly Arabic.

This issue came up during the work on MathML 2.0, and resulted in the
addition of section 3.1.5.  This section says that the Unicode
bidirectional algorithm should be followed for the text within token
elements, but that MathML 2.0 doesn't address the general question of
right-to-left layout.  The reason for that was simply that, the Math
Working Group was unable to find enough examples and/or experts in the
time available to be confident an attempt to describe how MathML
should work in right-to-left text would get it right.

Since then, however, a several groups have looked at using MathML in
Arabic, and a number more have expressed interest in being able to do
so.  Consequently, the current Math Interest Group believes the time
is ripe to start a public discussion of the issue, with the goals of:

1) Involving enough people from right-to-left language communities,
   particularly Arabic-speaking, to be able to make an authoritative
   statement about how math should be handled.  

2) Assuming 1 can be done, compiling an authoritative statement of
   the rules of right-to-left math typesetting, and specifically how
   MathML should be used for right-to-left mathematics.

3) Assuming 1 and 2 can be accomplished, preparing a document with
   official status to disseminate the result of 1 and 2 such as a W3C
   Note, or perhaps a new version of MathML at some point.

To get things started, I invite anyone with expert knowledge of math
in Arabic or other right-to-left languages to post a brief
introductory message.  Pointers to examples, articles, projects or
other useful background information would be especially welcome.  If
you aren't yourself an expert, but know someone who is, please draw
their attention to this discussion.



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

Received on Wednesday, 27 October 2004 21:47:11 UTC