[Webkit-unassigned] [Bug 241717] New: Lack of font support for Kashmiri characters makes text deviate from true semantics

bugzilla-daemon at webkit.org bugzilla-daemon at webkit.org
Fri Jun 17 09:06:13 PDT 2022


            Bug ID: 241717
           Summary: Lack of font support for Kashmiri characters makes
                    text deviate from true semantics
           Product: WebKit
           Version: Safari 15
          Hardware: Unspecified
                OS: Unspecified
            Status: NEW
          Severity: Normal
          Priority: P2
         Component: Text
          Assignee: webkit-unassigned at lists.webkit.org
          Reporter: ishida at w3.org
                CC: mmaxfield at apple.com

Created attachment 460299

  --> https://bugs.webkit.org/attachment.cgi?id=460299&action=review

Example glyph forms for Kashmiri.

This issue is applicable to Kashmiri written with the Perso-arabic script.

Kashmiri is written using the nastaliq style of Arabic writing. However, there are almost no fonts that properly support Kashmiri written in that orthography. (Noto Nastaliq Urdu was only updated in Feb 2022 to support Kashmiri.)

The result of this is that people resort to using inappropriate characters in their text so that the content looks visually more like they are expecting, and even then gaps remain. For example, to make the sukun look like an inverted v rather than a circle, users often use U+065B ARABIC VOWEL SIGN INVERTED SMALL V ABOVE, which is supposed to be used as an African vowel diacritic. There are several such problems in Kashmiri. Lists can be found here and here

Keyboards and input methods also need to be configured to insert the correct characters, but this doesn't help while there are so few fonts available that can display the characters.

This issue is not likely to be fixed by specifications or browser fixes, but does cause a significant constraint for Kashmiris wishing to use the Web.

There is an additional issue, however, related to pre-installed fonts on macOS (see below).

Tests & results:
interactive test, A given font will correctly render characters needed for Kashmiri in the perso-arabic script.

The glyph shapes when the text in the test are displayed should resemble those in the image just below. In particular: farsi yeh with small v above should join to the left; the 4 forms of kashmiri yeh should appear; hamzas should use the round form; the sukun over PA should be an inverted v.

See the attached image.

As of March 2022, the latest version of Noto Nastaliq Urdu supports the needed glyphs, if the language is set to 'ks', and displays correctly on Windows10. However, on macOS 12.2.1 the pre-installed version of the font cannot be overwritten and is used to display Kashmiri text in browsers, meaning that there is no support on macOS at the time of writing.

SIL's Awami Nastaliq font succeeds in correctly rendering all but one feature: the hamza is s-shaped, as used for Urdu, rather than rounded. However, this is a Graphite font, and so only works currently on Gecko browsers.

The Gulmarg Nastaleeq font supports some features in Windows, but appears to not have glyphs for KASHMIRI YEH or for LETTER WAW WITH RING. It also doesn't work on macOS, presumbly for the same reason as the Noto font.

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