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Computation East

Orientalistic Stereotypes Stereotypical Orientalisms

El Chipo de Silicio's E-Bizarre

All we like sheep.

The El Chipo SHEEP Page (29 Muhxarram 1422)

(25 Muharram 1422)

I. Codepage 1256 Font

This font, designed for students of Arabic (or Persian or natural-language text processing) who do not own (or do not care to use) special Arabicized versions of Windows, will map "Windows Arabic" text into new, improved gibberish, into gibberish that looks more like

'kl !ljml šm²!m! w!sx! fy !lswq

than like

To be sure, if neither version suggests anything in the general semantic vicinity of a camel and a melon and a marketplace to you, then this item is probably not something you need very urgently. If, however, you can make out the shammm here, or at least the camel, perhaps you'll see the possibility of doing text processing things with Arabic using ordinary tools that don't understand about right-to-left or positional variations in the shapes of characters or even the lunar calendar itself.

II. Transliterated Arabic Font/Keyboard Package

Our first offering will help you read and manipulate at least a million pages of existing Arabic out there on the web, but it is no use for writing new stuff of your own. The "Dushizat" font and its accompanying keyboard table will allow you to write Persian and Arabic in pretty much the form of transliteration which European scholarly journals have long used. In fact, with this package you can scribble away in Arabic, English, French, German, Persian, Pig Latin, Portugeuse and Spanish all at once. Or at least all in this one font, and with everything tolerably easy to access from the keyboard.

The big catch is that this item will work only for Windows 9X (95, 98 and Millennium). If you use NT or 2000, you are out of luck, at least for now. Also, be advised that the installation procedure is a bit challenging and definitely not Microsoft-supported.

III. The Genuine Article

Today's third package includes two fonts that contain Arabic that looks like Arabic but nevertheless do not need anything "localized" or "enabled." But these fonts are tied to particular programs (also provided) which will be of interest primarily to language students. First there is a flash-card editor -- not ready for prime time, admittedly -- that lets you write small amounts of "real" but unvocalized Arabic/Persian, transliterated Arabic/Persian of the pedantic sort we just discussed, and also modern Turkish -- plus all the European languages supported by the ordinary Windows codepage.

Their Pal Al

Secondly, there is a rather advanced program for conjugating Arabic verbs that incorporates a font with Arabic vocalization in it, although it doesn't let you write your own stuff with it at all.

As a completely gratuitous freebie, El Chipo will toss into this third zip file verb programs on the same pattern for Latin and English and Turkish. (At least I hope that what the last one does is Turkish. Writing software for a language you don't begin to know yourself has its drawbacks.) I've been trying to give away this set of stuff, codenamed VERBIAGE, for years....)

Furthermore, all the fonts in all three packages are documented for programmers who might want to do original things of their own with them. What each glyph is and where it is located are explained in full for the benefit of the sort of people who know what a "glyph" is in the first place.