I have been searching for this for a few hours today and haven't found anything but this really, well maybe this is as close as it gets. Just found this, too, which is nice.

I've asked this on the Islam SE about the ancient Quran, because they may know based on the detailed writings of the prophets and such perhaps some rules which could be insightful. But I wanted to ask here a more broad version because in terms of Linguistics, this could apply cross-culturally focusing on Arabic Orthography's use.

My question is, how do you break words across lines in the Arabic script? What is acceptable practice in various languages, specifically the early Arabic of the Quran (Kufic script), but also modern Arabic, Urdu, Farsi/Dari (Persian), etc. How do you split a word into two pieces, essentially, using the Arabic script?


You don't break words in Arabic. Instead of breaking words, the Arabic script uses optional stretching of words to justify text columns. You can stretch the inter-letter joins and also some individual letters (especially the letter kaf). The feature is briefly mentioned in §8.5 of the ArabTeX manual and described in any decent introduction to the Arabic script.

EDIT: Two more references on Arabic typesetting for your entertainment Jabri: The Arabi system and Haralambous: Infrastructure for high-quality Arabic typesetting. The latter reference contains an interesting note: While the Arabic language isn't hyphenated, Uighur written in the Arabic script is hyphenated (with an example given).

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    Similar remarks apply to Biblical Hebrew, btw. – jlawler Nov 3 '19 at 19:06
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    Might be worth noting that this stretching is often called kasheedah, and the character used for it is a tat'weel (for googling purposes). – Draconis Nov 3 '19 at 19:52
  • Well there's no way to do this in unicode/html/the browser, I suppose. – Lance Pollard Nov 3 '19 at 20:03
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    @LancePollard: For the purpose of encoding (Unicode) the stretching is irrelevant, it is also irrelevant on the level of markup (HTML). What the rendering engine (the browser) does in practice is left to the developers of the engine. – jk - Reinstate Monica Nov 4 '19 at 11:00
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    Also, if you're writing in Arabic with a pen and make a mistake, like you wrote a wrong letter, you cannot just cross that letter out and write the correct letter above, you're supposed to cross out the whole word and write it anew, this time correctly. – Yellow Sky Nov 6 '19 at 18:09

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