Tendency or Trend? The Direction Towards Modern Latin-Like Arabic Script


  •  Hisham S. Alkadi    

Abstract

The past few decades have witnessed an aesthetic trend in the Arabic Writing System and its well-known calligraphic arts, which have exploited features of other writing systems, including Latin and Chinese scripts. Although there are great differences between almost every aspect of the Arabic and Latin scripts, this trend has blended certain characteristics of Arabic script with some features of Latin script.

This study examines this trend and its experiments and transitions, from the moment it first emerged until the present day. It investigates the motivations underpinning the trend and analyzes its artistic and linguistic characteristics, in which the researcher visually analyzes all possible details and disassembles both orthographic items and calligraphic features into their basic essential scripts. The findings reveal an aesthetic and linguistic trend that is substantial and significant, based on linguistic, cultural, and sociocultural factors, including increased levels of communication, culturalism, advances in technology, transportation, migration, and globalization. Script tools and features are used to divide the main trend into three sub-trends: 1) Script switching, where scripts are interchanged at word-level; 2) Script fusion, where scripts are altered at letter-level; and 3) Faux fonts, which dissolve certain features of Arabic script to mirror Latin script. All of the techniques used to make Arabic script match Latin script have been shown to be culturally-induced and linguistically informative, rather than merely aesthetic. The findings of this study also indicate that this new phenomenon is likely to be in the early stages, with further developments expected to unfold in future.



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