Title: \b reports false-positives in Indic strings involving combining marks
Type: behavior Stage:
Components: Regular Expressions Versions: Python 3.7, Python 3.6, Python 2.7
Status: open Resolution:
Dependencies: Superseder:
Assigned To: serhiy.storchaka Nosy List: ezio.melotti, jamadagni, mrabarnett, serhiy.storchaka
Priority: normal Keywords:

Created on 2017-12-02 13:28 by jamadagni, last changed 2017-12-02 18:28 by serhiy.storchaka.

Messages (2)
msg307430 - (view) Author: Shriramana Sharma (jamadagni) Date: 2017-12-02 13:28

import re
cons_taml = "[கஙசஞடணதநபமயரலவழளறன]"
print(re.findall("\\b" + cons_taml + "ை|ஐ", "ஐவர் பையன் இசை சிவிகை இல்லை இவ்ஐ"))
cons_deva = "[कखगघङचछजझञटठडढणतथदधनपफबभमयरलवशषसह]"
print(re.findall("\\b" + cons_deva + "ै|ऐ", "ऐषमः तैलम् ईडै समीशै ईक्षै ईक्ऐ"))

Kubuntu Xenial 64 bit
Python 3.5.2 (default, Nov 23 2017, 16:37:01) 
[GCC 5.4.0 20160609] on linux

Actual Output:
['ஐ', 'பை', 'கை', 'லை', 'ஐ']
['ऐ', 'तै', 'शै', 'षै', 'ऐ']

Expected Output:
['ஐ', 'பை']
['ऐ', 'तै']


The formulated RE desires to identify words *starting* with the vowel /ai/ (\u0BC8 ை in Tamil script and \u0948 ै in Devanagari as vowel sign or \u0B90 ஐ \u0910 ऐ as independent vowel). ஐவர் பையன் and ऐषमः तैलम् are the only words fitting this criterion. \b is defined to mark a word boundary and is here applied at the beginning of the RE.


There seems to be some assumption that only GC=Lo characters constitute words. Hence the false positives at ச ி வ ி (க ை) and स म ी (श ै) where the ி and ी are vowel signs, and இ ல ் (ல ை) and ई क ् (ष ै) where the ் and ् are virama characters or vowel cancelling signs.

In Indic, such GC=Mc and GC=Mn characters are inalienable parts of words. They should be properly identified as parts of words and no word boundary answering to \b should be generated at their positions.
msg307446 - (view) Author: Serhiy Storchaka (serhiy.storchaka) * (Python committer) Date: 2017-12-02 18:28
This is a known issue. See also issue1693050, issue12731, issue25743. I hope it will be solved in 3.7 and maybe the solution will be backported to 2.7 and 3.6 (but not to 3.5, 3.5 takes only security fixes).

As a workaround I suggest you to use the third-party regex module. This is a mature module mostly compatible with re, but with better support of Unicode and additional features.
Date User Action Args
2017-12-02 18:28:37serhiy.storchakasetversions: + Python 2.7, Python 3.6, Python 3.7, - Python 3.5
nosy: + serhiy.storchaka

messages: + msg307446

assignee: serhiy.storchaka
2017-12-02 13:28:09jamadagnicreate