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I'm working with a document in English and Hebrew (using polyglossia), and am trying to add hyphenation in Hebrew wherever a hyphen might be. Based on other questions/answers on this site, I have tried to use hyphenat to replace all my hyphens in Hebrew that I would like to be hyphenatable with \hyp{}, but it refuses to hyphenate. See the minimal example below. Manually adding hyphenation rules for individual words is impractical, as I will will have thousands of words to input. Is there a way of forcing LaTeX to allow hyphenation even on the Hebrew side whenever it sees \hyp{} (or even better, an arbitrary character, for example the Hebrew version of the hyphen, U+05BE ־)?

\documentclass[10pt]{book}
\usepackage{polyglossia,hyphenat}

\setdefaultlanguage{english}
\setotherlanguages{hebrew}
\newfontfamily\hebrewfont[Script=Hebrew]{Arial Unicode MS}

\newcommand{\h}[1]{\RL{\texthebrew{#1}\hfil}}
\newcommand{\hangparagentry}{\hangindent-0.5em \hangafter1 \leftskip 0.8em \parindent -0.5em}
\DeclareDocumentCommand{\entry}{ m o m }{\noindent\hangparagentry{\hspace{-.5em}\textbf{#1}\hspace{0.5cm}\hfill \h{#3\IfNoValueF{#2}{ \textenglish{\scriptsize{#2}}}}}\par}

\begin{document}

\flushright

\entry{earthquake meter earthquake meter earthquake meter}{דער ע֜רד\hyp{}צי֜טערניש\hyp{}מע֜סטער, \hyp{}ס}

\end{document}
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  • I thought Hebrew is not hyphenated (except in newspapers). However, \- should work
    – egreg
    Feb 22, 2015 at 23:08
  • @egreg it's actually in Yiddish, but all the code reads "hebrew", so I didn't feel like confusing things. Also, I need the hyphen (or better yet maqqaf) to be there regardless of the word being split over multiple lines or not, hence my use of \hyp.
    – magicker72
    Feb 22, 2015 at 23:22
  • You may try with \newcommand\hyp{\discretionary{<maqqaf>}{}{}} (where <maqqaf> is code to produce the glyph; sorry, but I know nothing about Hebrew or Yiddish). Leave a space after \hyp, not {}.
    – egreg
    Feb 22, 2015 at 23:41
  • 1
    Remove hyphenat. Also \hfill in the definition of \entry is responsible for missing hyphenation: this picture shows what I get when I change it to a simple space
    – egreg
    Feb 23, 2015 at 0:13
  • 1
    @Florian That's an interesting problem, but probably it requires extensive research and development.
    – egreg
    Oct 27, 2015 at 16:41

1 Answer 1

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Remove hyphenat, to begin with. You could define \hyp to do \discretionary{-}{}{} if you want a discretionary hyphen, but this would be the same as using \-.

If you want a “breakable at” hyphen, just use a hyphen.

\documentclass[10pt]{book}
\usepackage{polyglossia}

\setdefaultlanguage{english}
\setotherlanguages{hebrew}
\newfontfamily\hebrewfont[Script=Hebrew]{Arial Unicode MS}

\newcommand{\h}[1]{\RL{\texthebrew{#1}\hfil}}
\newcommand{\hangparagentry}{\hangindent-0.5em \hangafter1 \leftskip 0.8em \parindent -0.5em}

\DeclareDocumentCommand{\entry}{ m o m }{%
  \noindent\hangparagentry{\hspace{-.5em}\textbf{#1}\hspace{0.5cm} %\hfill
  \h{\hspace{0pt}#3\IfNoValueF{#2}{ \textenglish{\scriptsize{#2}}}}}\par}

\begin{document}

\flushright

\entry{earthquake meter earthquake meter earthquake meter}{דער ע֜רד-צי֜טערניש-מע֜סטער, -ס}

\parbox{0pt}{\h{\hspace{0pt}דער ע֜רד-צי֜טערניש-מע֜סטער, -ס}}

\end{document}

The \parbox at the end is just for showing that hyphens are good line break points.

Note that I changed \hfill in the definition of \entry to a simple space. Using \hfill makes TeX into thinking that it's better not to hyphenate in order to get a better paragraph.

enter image description here

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  • If I left it as \hfil, would I still prevent hyphenation? I would like to avoid undue spacing between words.
    – magicker72
    Feb 23, 2015 at 11:20
  • @magicker72 It depends on several factors; too much stretch available will make TeX prefer not hyphenating. Use \hspace{2em plus 2em} or so instead of \hfill.
    – egreg
    Feb 23, 2015 at 12:04
  • I've just noticed that your solution has issues outside the \entry environment. Specifically, see the edit to the question.
    – magicker72
    Oct 27, 2015 at 16:06
  • @magicker72 It shouldn't be an edit, but a new (follow up) question.
    – egreg
    Oct 27, 2015 at 16:30
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    If you want the maqaf instead of the Latin hyphen, you can use \hebrewfont[HyphenChar="5BE,Script=Hebrew]{YourFont} and then replace the hyphens in your source by maqafs.
    – Florian
    Oct 27, 2015 at 19:35

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