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Zero-width non-joiner

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Title: Zero-width non-joiner  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Unicode, Combining Grapheme Joiner, Zero-width joiner, Zero-width space, Universal Character Set characters
Collection: Control Characters, Persian Orthography, Typography, Unicode Formatting Code Points
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Zero-width non-joiner

ISO keyboard symbol for ZWNJ

The zero-width non-joiner (ZWNJ) is a non-printing character used in the computerization of writing systems that make use of ligatures. When placed between two characters that would otherwise be connected into a ligature, a ZWNJ causes them to be printed in their final and initial forms, respectively. This is also an effect of a space character, but a ZWNJ is used when it is desirable to keep the words closer together or to connect a word with its morpheme.

The ZWNJ is encoded in Unicode as U+200C zero width non-joiner (HTML  · ).


  • Use of the ZWNJ and US for correct typography 1
  • Use of the ZWNJ for displaying alternate forms 2
  • Symbol 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Use of the ZWNJ and US for correct typography

In certain languages, the ZWNJ is necessary to unambiguously specify the correct typographic form of a character sequence.

The ASCII control code Unit Separator was formerly used for this.

Correct (with ZWNJ) Incorrect Meaning
Display Picture Code Display Picture Code
می‌خواهم می‌خواهم

(rendered from right to left):
میخواهم میخواهم Persian 'I want to'
עֲו‌ֹנֹת עֲו‌ֹנֹת

(rendered from right to left):
עֲוֹנֹת עֲוֹנֹת Old Hebrew 'transgressions'
Auf‌lage Auf‌lage Auflage Auflage German 'edition' (compound of "auf"+"Lage")
Brotzeit Brot‌zeit Brotzeit German (regional) '(kind of) snack'
(compound noun "Brot"+"Zeit" = 'bread time'),
shown in Fraktur

In the Biblical Hebrew example, the placement of the holam dot to the left of the letter vavו⟩ is correct. If a dot were placed over the ⟨ו⟩, it would resemble ⟨עוֹנוֹת⟩, "seasons". In Modern Hebrew, there is no reason to use the ḥolam after the vav, and the ligature is not needed, so it is rarely used in Modern Hebrew typesetting.

In German typography, ligatures may not cross the constituent boundaries within compounds. Thus, in the first German example, the prefix Auf- is separated from the rest of the word to prohibit the ligature fl.

Persian uses this character extensively for certain prefixes, suffixes and compound words,[1] and is necessary to disambiguate between non-compound words, which uses a full space.

Use of the ZWNJ for displaying alternate forms

In the Indic scripts, insertion of a ZWNJ after a consonant with a halant or before a dependent vowel will prevent the characters from being joined properly. For example,

In Devanagari, the characters क् and typically combine to form क्ष, but when a ZWNJ is inserted between them, क्‌ष (code: क्‌ष) is seen instead.

In Kannada, the characters ನ್ and ನ combine to from ನ್ನ, but when a ZWNJ is inserted between them, ನ್‌ನ would be seen. This style is typically used to write non-Kannada words in Kannada script. Ex: Facebook is written as ಫೇಸ್‌ಬುಕ್, though it can be written as ಫೇಸ್ಬುಕ್. ರಾಜ್‌ಕುಮಾರ್ and ರಾಮ್‌ಗೊಪಾಲ್ are examples of other proper nouns that needs ZWNJ.


German T2 keyboard (detail), showing the ZWNJ symbol on the “.” key

The symbol to be used on keyboards which enable the input of the ZWNJ directly is standardized in Amendment 1 (2012) of ISO/IEC 9995-7:2009 "Information technology – Keyboard layouts for text and office systems – Symbols used to represent functions" as symbol number 81, and in IEC 60417 "Graphical Symbols for use on Equipment" as symbol no. IEC 60417-6177-2.

See also


  1. ^ "The Zero-Width-Non-Joiner". 

External links

  • Using the ZWNJ in Persian
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