Arabic Script: March 2009 Archives

Entry #100 - Still More about Middle Eastern Numbers


What better way to celebrate the 100th entry in this blog than with...a correction. It's a humble reminder that just because you know a lot about Unicode doesn't mean you can't mess up a crucial detail.

Way back in 2007, I posted an entry about generating Arabic (calligraphic) numbers in Microsoft Office (i.e. "١,٢,٣" vs. "1,2,3"). The entry noted that in Arabic "Arabic number" actually means Western (1,2,3) (actually called the DIGIT ONE, DIGIT TWO,... in Unicode). The term for numbers like ١,٢,٣ is actually "Hindi number" in Arabic (or ARABIC-INDIC DIGIT ONE, ARABIC-INDIC DIGIT TWO... in Unicode).

But the numbers I displayed as "Hindi/Arabic" were actually the Devanagari numbers as used in India (e.g. १,२,३). In Unicode these are called DEVANAGARI DIGIT ONE, DEVANAGARI DIGIT TWO...). Fortunately Eric Verlind pointed out the flaw, so I was able to correct the forms. Eric also pointed me to a Microsoft Digit Support page where I learned there are variations for Arabic, Persian and Urdu.

The learning never stops in Unicode world.


About The Blog

I am a Penn State technology specialist with a degree in linguistics and have maintained the Penn State Computing with Accents page since 2000.

See Elizabeth Pyatt's Homepage ( for a profile.


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