[NTG-context] A note on Arabic names in bibliographies and indices

Idris Samawi Hamid ادريس سماوي حامد ishamid at colostate.edu
Sun Feb 1 16:06:54 CET 2015


Dear Syndicate,

The current bibliography handler uses the following for authors:

\type{\author[junior]{firstnames}[inits]{von}{surname}}

Now in Arabic we have something similar to the 'von' field: the definite  
article 'al-', 'ibn', etc. Just as with 'von' we want to ignore them in  
the alphabetical sorting. [On the other hand, ConTeXt cannot currently  
sort its own bbl files alphabetically]. See the linked picture for a  
real-life example (the top-right of the page contains both Dutch and  
Arabic examples):

https://www.dropbox.com/s/rnimlactrlqz6ak/arabic-dutch-bib.jpg?dl=0

Now the {von} field works for these Arabic prefixes, but there is an  
issue: There can be no space between 'al-' and what follows (e.g.  
'al-Haq'). But the {von} field by default adds a space (von Corbin). So  
what to do? One solution is to use \setuppublicationlist[vonsep=] (see  
also attached):

==========
\starttext
\setuppublications[alternative=apa]
\setuppublicationlist[vonsep=]

\startpublication[k=corbin81,
                   t=book,
                   a=Corbin,
                   y=1981,
                   s=Corbin81]
\author[]{Henry}[H.]{von }{Corbin}
\title{The Concept of Comparative Philosophy}
\pubname{Golgonooza Press}
\city{Ipswich, United Kingdom}
\pubyear{1981}
\stoppublication

\startpublication[k=haq,
                   t=book,
                   a=Haq,
                   y=1994,
                   s=Haq94]
\author[]{Syed Nomanul}[S.]{al-}{Haq}
\title{Names, Natures, and Things}
\pubname{Kluwer}
\city{Dordrecht}
\pubyear{1994}
\stoppublication

\startpublication[k=ragep93,
                   t=book,
                   a={Ragep},
                   y=1993,
                   s=FJRg93]
\author[]{F.~J.}[F.~J.]{ibn al-}{Ragep}
\title{Memoir on Astronomy}
\pubname{Springer Verlag}
\city{New York}
\pubyear{1993}
\stoppublication

\placepublications [criterium=all] % inherits from \setuppublications
% \completepublications[criterium=cite] % only works with criterium=all
\stoptext
==========

\setuppublicationlist[vonsep=] kills the space after the prefix, but that  
means that for every 'von', 'van', 'abu', and the like we have to add the  
space manually in the {von} field (as in the above example).

If we don't want to use \setuppublicationlist[vonsep=] then we have to  
define a command for 'al-' that gobbles the space:

% \define \GobbleSpace{\ignorespaces}
% \define \Al{al-\GobbleSpace}

If one is using lots of Arabic names and few, e.g., Dutch names, then  
using the [vonsep=] approach seems better. But in the upcoming bib module  
we may want a better solution so that bbl files can be more consistent and  
portable. Any thoughts are appreciated, and

Best wishes
Idris
-- 
Idris Samawi Hamid
Professor of Philosophy
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523
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