[texhax] Syriac typesetting?

Robin Fairbairns Robin.Fairbairns at cl.cam.ac.uk
Tue Jun 15 23:08:41 CEST 2004

> I've been a casual user of TeX for a while and a lurker on this list for
> some time.  I've used LaTeX to write design documents at work, but
> that's about it.  This fall, I'm leaving my programming job to go back
> to school and get a doctorate in Semitic Languages and Literature,
> specializing in Syriac.  Consequently, I'm interested in using TeX to
> write papers in English but incorporating several other alphabets:
> primarily Syriac, but Hebrew, Coptic and Arabic could conceivably all be
> combined in one paper as well.

brave man!

> My question: is this currently possible with TeX?  Based on my research,
> there used to be a nice looking package called Sabra for Syriac
> typesetting, but I haven't been able to find a recent copy and it was
> supposed to be replaced by Omega anyway.

when i first got back here (after my programming job disappeared under
my feet) there was a man completing a phd dissertation on syriac
typesetting.  it will certainly be possible to dig out a copy of the
dissertation (we typically send out pdfs, scanned in the case of
something that old); but i may manage something more concrete about the
work (there's an awful lot of departed users' stuff spinning on the
discs here).

> I am also aware that Omega 2 is scheduled to be released this fall,
> right around when I go back to school.  Does anyone know where I can get
> more advance information about the capabilities they've been able to
> work into this second release?  It would be nice to know I have a system
> to write my papers with before I actually get immersed in the schoolwork
> . . .

i've been an enthusiast for omega since i first heard about it in the
early-ish 90s, and i still don't really understand how the current
offerings work.  (doesn't help that i've no real call for omega in my
day to day support work.)

let's hope the new one comes with more coherent documentation.  i don't
see papers in the upcoming preprints for this year's conference.  :-(

(what were you thinking of, william? -- i don't see anything in the

i'll get back to you if i can dig out the dissertation, at least.
librarian's been off sick today, so there may be a delay.


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