|Alina Kokoschka, Freie Universität Berlin, Hittorfstr. 18, 14195 Berlin, Germany. E-mail: email@example.com
|CyberOrient, Vol. 14, Iss. 2, 2020, pp. 38-63
|December 15, 2020
|This article examines different layers of the problematic visual representation of Arabic
as a writing system in the digital realm. It starts with the often false, sometimes severely
distorted representations of Arabic script. Although most obvious in daily office work and
strolls through Latin-Arabic Linguistic Landscapes, this phenomenon has not yet been
systematically looked into. The many unintended and often unnoticed misrepresentations
that lead to illegible texts and reader-unfriendly websites are only the tip of the iceberg.
They give visibility to a fundamental lack of script-specific visual organization of knowledge
in digital surroundings and the virtual absence of Arabic-based digital infrastructure.
These phenomena may be examined as a case in point of Latin dominance.
This article is a visual account. It investigates the common faults from a typographic and
aesthetic perspective against the background of different layers of Arabic scribal tradition.
It, therefore, moves from single letters and Arabic script’s specificities over to bi-scriptual
encounters and then to more complex text arrangements in websites, programming, and
manuscripts. While research in this very field necessarily focuses on deficiencies and problems,
possible solutions will also be presented and discussed.
digital divide, bilingual typography, Arabic script, linguistic landscapes