[XeTeX] Ancient Hebrew font problem

Kirk Lowery empirical.humanist at gmail.com
Mon Aug 23 21:46:38 CEST 2010

2010/8/23 Carsten Ziegert <carsten_ziegert at sil.org>

> Hi,
> I am facing a problems with hebrew vowels while trying three different
> fonts (see example file):
> With SBL Hebrew and Ezra SIL, the vowels are too much on the left under
> the consonants.
> Cardo seems ok, except for shureq (leftmost letter of the third and
> fourth word from the left). The point is on the right hand side of the
> Waw consonant instead of on the left.
> System specs: Ubuntu Karmic, fontspec 2010/08/01 v2.0c,
> XeTeXk, Version 3.141592-2.2-0.996-patch2 (Web2C 7.5.6)
> What can I do to achieve the correct vowel adjustment? Does anyone have
> experiences with fonts for Biblical Hebrew?

Doing cantillated Hebrew is my day job. And I use XeLaTeX as my preferred
system for academic publishing.

I modified your minimal example to contrast the two methods. Note the
differences in the prologue. SBL Hebrew comes out right, SIL Ezra does not
(no disparagement of SIL Ezra!).

\setromanfont[Mapping=tex-text]{TeX Gyre Schola}
%Set up for Biblical Hebrew
\newfontfamily{\sbl}[Script=Hebrew]{SBL Hebrew}

\section*{SBL Hebrew}
\RL{\sbl{הָאָ֗רֶץ הָיְתָ֥ה תֹ֨הוּ֙ וָבֹ֔הוּ}}
\section*{Ezra SIL}
\newcommand{\heb}[1]{\TeXXeTstate=1{\fontspec{Ezra SIL}\beginR{#1}\endR}}
\heb{וְהָאָ֗רֶץ הָיְתָ֥ה תֹ֨הוּ֙ וָבֹ֔הוּ}

Others here can no doubt explain the technical reasons why the first example
works and the second does not.


Kirk E. Lowery, PhD
President & Senior Research Fellow
The J. Alan Groves Center for Advanced Biblical Research
$DO || ! $DO ; try
try: command not found
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