entering biblical Hebrew on the Mac

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sblarose
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Re: entering biblical Hebrew on the Mac

Postby sblarose » Tue May 19, 2015 10:38 pm

Thanks, all, for the intriguing discussion. In short, I do require them to type all assignments. For one thing, I must be able to grade and due to my own disability I cannot read handwritten material. So all work must be produced in Unicode. I have taught students who are handwriting before, but having them type this time around is much better for all of us. It avoids numerous headaches of them trying to describe to me the letters they are confusing, and I can give direct feedback on which letters they are reversing. More than you all probably cared to know...

I ended up with two Mac users in class. I did not ask which word processor they are using, but I do know that one is using the SBL keyboard and the other is using Tyndale. Both did equally well on the keyboarding assignments, and we are on to translations and other things.
Sarah Blake LaRose
http://www.night-light.org

kwrandolph
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Re: entering biblical Hebrew on the Mac

Postby kwrandolph » Wed May 20, 2015 11:44 am

sblarose wrote:So all work must be produced in Unicode.


All modern Hebrew input is in unicode. Macs led the way decades ago.

Do you insist on a certain file format? Or is .pdf the standard? .pdf had the advantages that it is a cross-platform file format, and that most programs can output in .pdf.

(I still use an old, quirky, non-unicode program that was ported over from Windows™ which, despite its pedigree, worked better on a Mac than on Windows™. Its very quirkiness gives it certain advantages when doing textual analysis. Other than that, all my programs are unicode.)

sblarose wrote:I ended up with two Mac users in class. I did not ask which word processor they are using, but I do know that one is using the SBL keyboard and the other is using Tyndale. Both did equally well on the keyboarding assignments, and we are on to translations and other things.


Do you have any requirements concerning Bible programs that the students use?

Karl W. Randolph.

sblarose
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Re: entering biblical Hebrew on the Mac

Postby sblarose » Wed May 20, 2015 4:40 pm

PDF and Hebrew does not work well with screen readers, so I don't use it. My Hebrew text is displayed directly on web pages, and students are allow to submit via text input or RTF/Word docs. I have since found out that my Mac students are using Pages and Melel--I don't specify a preference, as what works well for one may not work for the other. I do have one student who is complaining about font issues, but he seems to be the only one having difficulty viewing text. I am not sure whether it is better to resolve this by forcing a font on my end or by recommending he install a better viewing font.
Sarah Blake LaRose
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kwrandolph
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Re: entering biblical Hebrew on the Mac

Postby kwrandolph » Thu May 21, 2015 10:13 am

sblarose wrote:PDF and Hebrew does not work well with screen readers, so I don't use it.


That’s strange. I’ve had no problem with it. The .pdf viewer that ships with the Mac is Preview and so far I’ve had no problem with using it to view Hebrew.

However, I don’t view the dots, so in response to your question, I decided to check with my computers how Macintosh displays Hebrew text. Right now I have three Macintoshes that I use regularly, and for different things. I have an old original model Mac Mini G4 running an OS that’t too old for this discussion. I check B-Hebrew on a Dell netbook Hackentosh running Mac OS X.6 and I have a MacBook Air running MacOS X.7. All of them display the consonantal text no problem. But add the pesky dots, which are neither Biblical era pronunciation nor always accurate within their own dialect, they cause problems.

sblarose wrote:My Hebrew text is displayed directly on web pages, and students are allow to submit via text input or RTF/Word docs.


RTF is the default file format for the bottom-of-the-line TextEdit, which can also output .pdf.

sblarose wrote:I have since found out that my Mac students are using Pages and Melel--I don't specify a preference, as what works well for one may not work for the other. I do have one student who is complaining about font issues, but he seems to be the only one having difficulty viewing text. I am not sure whether it is better to resolve this by forcing a font on my end or by recommending he install a better viewing font.


In response to your question, I checked how Macs displayed dots with different fonts that ship with the Macintosh in a program called Eloquent (part of the free Crosswire family). None of the fonts I checked displayed the dots correctly. I don’t know if the problem is the font, or the OS is unable to handle them correctly. If you insist that the student view the dots, then you might suggest to download a different font and see if that works.

Without the dots, no problem, which is why I hadn’t noticed any problems before.

Hope this helps.

Karl W. Randolph.

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enkidu
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Re: entering biblical Hebrew on the Mac

Postby enkidu » Thu May 21, 2015 6:19 pm

Karl, I think you misunderstand what a screen reader is. This isn't just a program that can display a PDF document, it is usually a program that provides a text-to-speech reading of a text.

Textedit now provides an innovative "split cursor" for entering and editing RTL text within a predominantly LTR document, but it really isn't any use for academic writing at all.

Finally, I have very little trouble with the placement of any niqqud/vowel point in Mellel or Pages using most unicode fonts. If they are not displaying in Eloquent then I would suspect Eloquent has the problem!
Martin Shields,
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kwrandolph
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Re: entering biblical Hebrew on the Mac

Postby kwrandolph » Fri May 22, 2015 3:29 pm

enkidu wrote:Karl, I think you misunderstand what a screen reader is. This isn't just a program that can display a PDF document, it is usually a program that provides a text-to-speech reading of a text.


Thanks, I didn’t realize that.

No wonder the teacher insists on entering the points, because without them the screen reader is in the same place as are Biblical Hebrew scholars, not knowing how to pronounce what’s written.

enkidu wrote:Textedit now provides an innovative "split cursor" for entering and editing RTL text within a predominantly LTR document, but it really isn't any use for academic writing at all.


The latest version of TextEdit I have came with Mac OS X.7 and outputs the same RTF files that any other word processor outputs. Is there any reason that TextEdit can’t be used for academic writing where minimal formatting is needed?

I don’t know what is a “split curser”. In my experience it’s the same one found also in LibreOffice or in a browser as I respond to messages in B-Hebrew. If the document is primarily right to left, the curser stays on the left of the line of text. In fact, it depends on the line of text, not the primary language of the document. Just make sure that TextEdit is set up to make a RTF document.

enkidu wrote:Finally, I have very little trouble with the placement of any niqqud/vowel point in Mellel or Pages using most unicode fonts. If they are not displaying in Eloquent then I would suspect Eloquent has the problem!


I checked Eloquent because that is the quickest way to check several fonts. The same problem appears on line in a browser. That’s why I suspect the OS or the fonts that came with the OS. I’ve heard that the proper placement of medieval Hebrew dots were a problem in older Mac OS, and my computers may have pre-corrected Mac OS. The problem is not whether or not the dots are present, rather the proper placement for display.

I have hesitated updating the OS on my computers. Well, on my little Dell, it can’t go beyond Mac OS X.6. I use it almost every day, as it’s so handy and easy to carry around, so that, like right now when I have to wait with wifi available, I can do work. My MacBook Air 11" is big and clumsy in comparison. I wish there were updates to netbooks that stayed true to the netbook philosophy—small, light, 9" screen, can easily fit into a carry bag or purse, yet is a full-fledged computer, not crippled like iOS, Android or some of the newest Windows™ computers.

As a result, my experience may be different from yours.

As long as I stay with Biblical Hebrew without the clutter of the untrustworthy medieval dots, I have no problem.

Karl W. Randolph.


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