[UA-discuss] RTL Script Domain Names & Email Addresses

Andre Schappo A.Schappo at lboro.ac.uk
Tue Mar 8 18:02:12 UTC 2016

I have given some thought to how to handle/display domain names that are in a right to left script such as Arabic. After some thought and experimentation I think that each label of a domain name should be bidi isolated.

Lets take a 2 level domain name: 2ndLevelD.TLD where each label is written in a Right to Left Script.

In a Left to Right paragraph/document I want the ordering to be 2ndLevelD.TLD

In a Right to Left paragraph/document I want the ordering to be TLD.2ndLevelD

Using bidi isolation this can be achieved. In the case of html5 one can use the bidi isolate tag <bdi>

So, I now write my domain name in html5 as


I then experimented with the html dir attribute and flipped the whole document between dir="ltr" and dir="rtl" and it gave me the results I wanted as above.

I need to think a bit more about the possible permutations of the local part of an email address but if it is a single word then the following works



I believe that using bidi isolates leads to easier to comprehend domain names/email addresses for both Left to Right readers and Right to Left readers.

So, for example, a Left to Right reader would see a domain name 2ndLevelD.TLD and one can easily comprehend the ordering is from minor to major from Left to Right. The text in each label is though Right to Left

André Schappo

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