[XeTeX] Ancient Hebrew font problem

Gareth Hughes garzohugo at gmail.com
Mon Aug 23 22:02:37 CEST 2010

Carsten Ziegert wrote:
> 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?
> Thanks,
> Carsten

Dear Carsten,

The problem arises from not telling fontspec you're writing in Hebrew:
you need to declare the font feature Script=Hebrew (you wouldn't need
this on a Mac). To do this you need the format
\fontspec[Script=Hebrew]{Ezra SIL} or whatever font you desire.

Are you using that format for a reason? I would prefer to use
polyglossia for a bilingual document:

\usepackage{xltxtra, polyglossia}
\newfontfamily\hebrewfont[Script=Hebrew]{Ezra SIL}

Ezra SIL: \texthebrew{וְהָאָ֗רֶץ הָיְתָ֥ה תֹ֨הוּ֙ וָבֹ֔הוּ}


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