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Arabic Morphological Analysis and Generation

The Buckwalter Transliteration

The Buckwalter Transliteration (chart) of Modern Standard Arabic orthography was developed by lexicographer Tim Buckwalter for practical storage, display and email transmission of Arabic text in environments where the display of genuine Arabic characters is not possible or convenient. Text coded in ASMO449 or ISO-8859-6 can be converted trivially and unambiguously into the Buckwalter transliteration; and except for the rarely used dagger 'alif and waSla-on-'alif, which are missing from ASMO449 and ISO-8859-6, the reverse mapping is equally straightforward. Buckwalter transliteration can be trivially converted to and from UNICODE, which contains the extra characters.

The Xerox Java applets that display Arabic script use UNICODE characters internally.

The Buckwalter System is a true or strict orthographical transliteration, as opposed to the majority of "transcription" romanizations of Arabic that are intended to convey phonological or morphophonological information; it has the advantages of being complete, typable and displayable on common ascii terminals and printers. Because the Roman character equivalents are chosen to be reasonably mnemonic, Arabists can learn to read and write Buckwalter texts with little difficulty.

Prof. Dr. Klaus Lagally of the University of Stuttgart has also kindly written a "buck.sty" style file for his excellent ArabTeX system, allowing TeX and LaTeX users to specify Arabic strings in their documents using the Buckwalter transliteration. (ArabTeX is available by FTP from "ftp.informatik.uni-stuttgart.de" ( The package resides in "/pub/arabtex/"; see also the file "arabtex.htm".)

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