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Thread: Hebrew on Android Phones

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    18

    Default Hebrew on Android Phones

    Hello everyone,

    I find it extremely helpful to review vocabulary using a flashcard app on my Droid Incredible. Instead of having to carry around, and shuffle through, stacks of flashcards, all I need is my phone.

    However, I have run into some difficulties with Hebrew. Hebrew characters were not supported at all until the recent Android 2.2 (Froyo) update. Now, Hebrew characters are supported, but the vowel pointings are all misaligned. Shin always shows up as Sin, and the vowels are all between the consonants rather than directly under them. I can't figure out why.

    Android uses a unicode font called DroidSansHebrew.ttf. I know in unicode, the vowel pointings usually shift automatically depending on which characters are before/after them. But, it looks like that automatic shifting just isn't happening.

    Has anyone else had this same issue? Is there anything I can do to fix it?

    I can't find any information about this anywhere, so any help would be much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    2,030

    Default

    I'm sorry I can't help you on this, but maybe you can help me.

    I may be the only holdout on the planet who doesn't own a cellphone, and unless my resolve weakens, that won't ever change!

    However, for numerous reasons, including safety, my wife owns -- and has owned -- a cellphone for a long time. She now has a Droid, which she has had for several months, and I've only played with it very briefly.

    My problem is this -- I have downloaded what I THINK are the proper drivers, but I cannot get my computer to recognize when the Droid is connected to it. I'm running XP.

    Do you have any idea how I should go about resolving this?

  3. #3

    Default It's the program...

    ... not Android. Biblical Hebrew shows up beautifully when I'm using Olive Tree, Logos, or Cadre Bible. (I have a list of Android Bible apps HERE.)

    Which flashcard app are you using? (It's on my to-do list to compile a list of flashcard apps for Android... I've looked at some, especially from the perspective of Greek vocab.)
    Mark G. Vitalis Hoffman
    Professor of Biblical Studies
    Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg
    ltsg.edu - CrossMarks.com
    Biblical Studies and Technological Tools

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    259

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Adelphos View Post
    I may be the only holdout on the planet who doesn't own a cellphone, and unless my resolve weakens, that won't ever change!
    Neither do I - I find them too intrusive - but that is a personal opinion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adelphos View Post
    However, for numerous reasons, including safety, my wife owns -- and has owned -- a cellphone for a long time.
    My son bought my wife one some years ago (he worked for the phone company and got a great plan) when our car was starting to show it's age, she started work at 6AM and worked 15 or so miles away on the other side of the city.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    1

    Default Flashcard programs

    Quote Originally Posted by MGVH View Post
    ... not Android. Biblical Hebrew shows up beautifully when I'm using Olive Tree, Logos, or Cadre Bible. (I have a list of Android Bible apps HERE.)

    Which flashcard app are you using? (It's on my to-do list to compile a list of flashcard apps for Android... I've looked at some, especially from the perspective of Greek vocab.)
    I would be very interested in such a list. The only flashcard program I've EVER seen that lets me enter Hebrew vocab with vowel points is Anki. I was first introduced to Anki on the palm OS, and they now have a droid version but due to the Android font issues AnkiDroid does not support vowel pointing (but does support Hebrew consonants in the correct order at least). I'm not sure I agree with your claim that it's the program, not Android, though. Currently the Android OS does not natively support Hebrew vowels (it barely supports Hebrew at all), and while Olive Tree, Cadre Bible, etc may look beautiful, it's because those programmers have taken the time to code workarounds to display Hebrew vowels in SPITE of the limitations of the Android OS. When it comes to flashcard programs however, it seems nobody has the time/money/interest to code such workarounds. This is why the Android OS needs to be updated to fully support Unicode fonts (which would include Hebrew vowels), so that app programers don't have to waste their time figuring out workarounds.

    As for me, I am seriously considering getting a "retro" palm PDA off ebay for the sole purpose of running Anki for Hebrew flashcard review. It seems asinine at first that I have to resort to this, but then I have to remind myself that Hebrew vowel pointing is a very, very niche market, so I shouldn't be that surprised that it is poorly supported on most platforms.

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MGVH View Post
    ... not Android. Biblical Hebrew shows up beautifully when I'm using Olive Tree, Logos, or Cadre Bible. (I have a list of Android Bible apps HERE.)

    Actually, it really is android. All versions of android have some amount of misallignment. On some OS versions and H/W platform combinations it is hardly noticable, but on others it makes the text nearly unreadable. Hebrew on My T-moble slide is reasonably good, but on my Motorola Xoom with 3.x it was nearly impossible to read. On my Xoom after 4.x it is much better but still not as good as the phone.

    There are a few programs (Mostly Jewish programs) that use a special Hebrew s/w driver that allows an Android program to display perfectly alligned Hebrew. But the library has to be licensed by the developer of the App and most developers do not license that library.

  7. #7

    Default

    Thanks for the clarification. I looked more closely at some of the apps I have, and there is a wide variety of implementation of the Hebrews. I'm using a DroidX. With respect to pointed Hebrew:
    • Olive Tree's Bible Reader does a great job; vowel points and accents
    • Logos: vowel points and accents; vowels tend to be located closer to between letters than under them
    • Cadre Bible does a great job with locating vowels; vowels but not accents; Hebrew text properly reads right to left, but it is left aligned
    • AndBible uses unpointed Hebrew
    • YouVersion has no Hebrew Bible
    Mark G. Vitalis Hoffman
    Professor of Biblical Studies
    Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg
    ltsg.edu - CrossMarks.com
    Biblical Studies and Technological Tools

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