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In Urdu, ہ is called gol he and ھ is called docašmī he.
However in Sindhi, there seems to be only one for both (choṭī he), which is officially ھ.
(Please let me know if I'm wrong here) (Ref: Sindhi Alphabets)

But in Sindhi Wikipedia, I see heavy usage of ہ (especially Arabic ه).

Why so? Is it because colloquially written Sindhi is heavily influenced by Urdu alphabet?

For example, I see آھي and آهي being used interchangeably.

How do we deal with this (or clean this) for computational purposes?


Edit: (Another confusing example)
In the sentence پڙهڻ ۾ ڏکيائي, the Sindhi word پڙهڻ translates to Urdu as پڑھائی. Notice that ڑھ in Urdu uses ھ but ڙه in Sindhi uses ہ. Why these confusions?

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  • One reason for the heavy use of heh U+0647 may be the keyboard layouts being used. On the Apple Sindhi layout, this is the top level h character. You can get U+06be heh doachashmee only on the Shift level, but Apple's default Arabic script fonts don't seem to have the right middle and final forms. I don't know about the Windows keyboard. – Tom Gewecke Apr 19 at 19:33
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Did you say different? My browser renders those "different" examples identically: enter image description here

They are definitely encoded differently, because a search for ه will only highlight one of the two:

enter image description here

So what's going on?

Arabic and related scripts type characters differently depending on their position in a word. Let's just consider the plain ﻩ (h) for a moment:

Lone Final Medial Initial

So far so good. This is, for all intents and purposes, the "Arabic ه" as you phrased it, since it's the only one you will run into when reading Arabic, and the most common form of h ه you will encounter elsewhere.

One big exception to this are the Arabizations of the Eastern Indo-Aryan languages which split ه into two: the "freeform" choṭī he and the "two-eyed" docašmī he.

The tricky part is that not all languages (neither all fonts) spell their choṭī and docašmī he's identically.

Lone Final Medial Initial Letter
ہ ‎ ـہ‎ ـہـ‎ ہـ Naskh choṭī he
ھ‎ ـھ‎ ـھـ‎ ھـ Naskh docašmī he
ہ ‎ ـہ ـھـ‎ ھـ Sindhi docašmī he

Sindhi does not actually have a choṭī he, unlike Urdu. So Sindhi employs additional letters for aspirated consonants (with the exceptions of جهي and گهي). The Sindhi docašmī he, which is closer to the Arabic ﻩ, fulfills the role of choṭī he in Urdu. It is used for the h sound and vowels, in Sindhi.

But if you look closely in the final and lone positions it visually resembles the Naskh choṭī he. So, to type these on a computer, Sindhi speakers can substitute the Naskhi choṭī he. This is why Sindhi Wikipedia shows a lot more ﻩ's than ـہ's, h just occurs in non-final positions more frequently.

In conclusion, in Sindhi ھ and ہ are the same letter, but are represented by different codes because those codes were originally designed to accommodate Arabic and Urdu typography. This is just how Sindhi speakers have adapted.

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    Yes, setting up that table WAS a nightmare – madprogramer Apr 15 at 16:08
  • ADDENDUM: The choice of whether to use ـہ or ﻪ differs from website to website. The only website which I have seen to consistently prefer ـہ over ﻪ was dic.sindhila.edu.pk . – madprogramer Apr 15 at 16:30
  • Thank you... makes sense :) So in conclusion, it is expected in Sindhi to consistently use either the unicode character of ھ or ہ, but in places like Wikipedia where everyone contributes, we see mixture of do chashmi he, gol he and Arabic's choti he. So for computationally purposes (like Natural Language Processing), it would make sense to normalize the 3 unicode variants to a single standard one. Am I right? – Gokul NC Apr 16 at 6:26
  • I guess, but only the under assumption that the entire page is in Sindhi. – madprogramer Apr 16 at 7:21
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    In searching around the last couple days I have been surprised to find the ـہ form in several online newspapers also in sl.sindhila.org/en/publications/sla-newsletter. Perhaps there is a special font that does this. – Tom Gewecke Apr 20 at 17:37

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