Friday, March 12, 2010
We all know that western script is read from left to right and vice versa for Arabic and Hebrew. Thus one goes backwards relative to the other. It seems clear enough. But now consider the ubiquitous bottom of the screen scrolling news on your favourite TV channel. It does not seem so intuitive that the western text should begin from the right and scroll left while the Arabic text comes in from the left. For the text that we think of as being read backwards moves forwards. And if the technique is that your eye picks a point on the TV screen and reads the passing words it is possible that it does not make much difference which way the words are going. With channels ever desperate to get distracted viewers to stick around for a few minutes maybe someone will try letting the text flow in the other direction. It will not be any less worthy an experiment than anything else in the news channel firmament.