[XeTeX] new to xetex: need help w/ typesetting Syriac

Sargon Hasso sargon.hasso at gmail.com
Mon Apr 27 05:01:55 CEST 2009

Although I am not new to LaTeX, published my graduate thesis in LaTeX, 
but  I just recently stumbled on unicode support via xetex. I downloaded 
MikTeX  v. 2.7 (w/ xetex support for windows). So, first things first: I 
tried to build the sample Arabic tex file (the closest to Syriac) that 
came in the xetex sample documents but failed. Oh, I remember those days 
when I had to chase down problems in LaTeX. I also tried to build a 
sample file that uses standard ttf/otf directly  and it worked fine. 
However, the syriac and arabic text don't seem to be rendered correctly, 
i.e. contextual shaping does not seem to be working. I know I am missing 
something, but I don't know what. I am attaching a sample pdf so you can 
see it. Perhaps, someone can show me a complete, albeit, simple tex file 
that has one syriac line and one arabic line that demonstrates 
typesetting syriac in xetex.

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