# Lualatex and Syriac (initial, middle and final letters)

I have heard that it is possible to typeset Arabic texts with Lualatex, so I assume that it is also possible to typeset Syriac texts with LuaLatex. But when I run the following example, the output is not like it should be:

\documentclass{scrartcl}
\usepackage{fontspec}

\newfontfamily\syriacfont[Script=Syriac]{Serto Batnan}%unicode otf; available http://www.bethmardutho.org/images/fonts/melthofonts-1.21.zip
\newcommand{\syr}[1]{\bgroup\luatextextdir TRT\syriacfont #1\egroup}

\begin{document}

\syr{ܟܕ ܛܝܒܘܬܐ ܡܫܡ̇ܗ ܐܦ ܠܢܡܘܣܐ. ܚܠܦ ܠܡ ܗܝ̇ ܛܝܒܘܬܐ ܗܕܐ ܐܬܝܗܒܬܼ}

\end{document}


The letters and words appear in the right order (ie. right to left), but there is no distinction between initial, middle and final letters. lualatex always uses the stand alone letters. I'm pretty sure that this is not the font's fault, because running the following, similar example with XeLatex, the output is right:

\documentclass{scrartcl}
\usepackage{fontspec}
\usepackage{polyglossia}
\setotherlanguage{syriac}
\newcommand{\syr}[1]{\RL{\textsyriac{#1}}}

\newfontfamily\syriacfont[Script=Syriac]{Serto Batnan}

\begin{document}

\syr{ܟܕ ܛܝܒܘܬܐ ܡܫܡ̇ܗ ܐܦ ܠܢܡܘܣܐ. ܚܠܦ ܠܡ ܗܝ̇ ܛܝܒܘܬܐ ܗܕܐ ܐܬܝܗܒܬܼ}

\end{document}


How can I make lualatex access the relevant otf information to determine between inital, middle and final letters?

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Arabic support for LuaLaTeX is still in development: see Typesetting Arabic with LuaLaTeX. I don't know if there's Syriac support in LuaLaTeX. There is a package for XeLaTeX, however: (unfortunately not on CTAN): XeSyriac. – Alan Munn Mar 5 '12 at 14:48
To me it seems (that does not mean much...) as if LuaLaTeX with fontspec should be able to handle Syriac script - at the very least its listed in table 13 on p. 34 of the fontspec-documentation. Have you tried different fonts from different designers? Maybe the font you are using has some faulty OTF information. Microsoft has a nice Arabic font and there is some information on efforts to create a Syriac font here - maybe the font is for download somewhere, too. – ClintEastwood Mar 5 '12 at 22:59
@holsten : THere seem to have been some development. Now it works (almost) perfectly. But some of the letters are still not correct, but now they are connected even though they shouldn't... Maybe with combined efforts and collaboration with the fontspec people, we could get this going. Are you still interested? (Your post is 2,5 years old) – ClintEastwood Dec 8 '14 at 18:48
@MartinSchröder - This posting is nearly 33 months old. Did you mean to post the Welcome Greetings on this posting, or did you maybe have another posting in mind? – Mico Dec 8 '14 at 19:24
In luatex, unlike xetex, contextual alternates aren’t on by default, so add them to the options of newfontfamily. But even so, the output isn’t right, and I think at least part of the problem is that luatex hasn’t yet caught up with xetex in handling Contextuals=WordInitial, Contextuals=Inner, and Contextuals=WordFinal. Even in English text, I can’t exploit those features with a font like Jannon 10 Pro unless I use xetex, and this Syriac font, like Jannon, makes use of them. – Thérèse Oct 17 '15 at 20:10

## 1 Answer

Arabic support for LuaLaTeX is still in development: see Typesetting arabic with LuaLaTeX. I don't know if there's Syriac support in LuaLaTeX. There is a package for XeLaTeX, however: (unfortunately not on CTAN): XeSyriac.

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