Re: bidi in Taiwanese Mandarin (was: bidi support)

From: Martin J. Duerst (
Date: Mon Jul 14 1997 - 13:03:21 EDT

On Mon, 14 Jul 1997, Werner Lemberg wrote:

> > What seems needed is a feature in a style language (e.g. in CSS) to
> > change the directionality of some set of characters (in this case
> > the CJKV ideographs) to something different (in this case from
> > strong LTR to strong RTL.
> Yes. Consider the two Chinese words [mi][fong] and [fong][mi] (meaning
> `bee' and `honey'). They use the same characters; if used as a horizontal
> header the human will recognize from context which direction is the right
> one, but a computer would like to see a direction marker IMHO...

The computer always stores the characters in logical order. Directionality
markers are not used to indicate whether inside the computer, characters
are stored forwards or backwards, but to indicate whether they have to
be displayed LTR or RTL. In the Chinese case we have seen today, no
direction markers would actually be necessary, because the implicit
algorithm gets things right once the character class and the base
directionality is right. (and in this case, the base directionality
would come from the stylesheet and not, as for Hebrew/Arabic, from
the markup, because in this case it is only a presentational issue).

Regards, Martin.

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