Re: Why Ligatures?

From: Alain LaBont\i - ordi1dgsig (
Date: Wed Oct 15 1997 - 20:20:33 EDT

A 12:25 97-10-15 -0700, Chester, Bernard a écrit :
>I guess I don't understand the reasoning behind having ligatures in a
>codepage. For example, Latin 00 proposal wants to add OE and oe
>ligatures to Latin-1.
>Aren't these cases that the display logic should handle, but the data
>actually is 2 letters? Is there a semantic difference if the display
>showed 2 characters? When I search for oe ligature code value,
>shouldn't I match with the octet pair o & e?
>Bernard Chester
>EDM Localization Coordinator, FileNET Bellevue

[Alain] :
OE's are not mere ligatures in French in the sense that the term ligature
is understood in ISO/IEC JTC1/SC2. These characters are *required* for
spelling of certain words in French as per dictionaries, *forbidden* in
others. It acts as an anti-diaeresis if you wish to undertand its function.
The joined digraph represents a pure vowel while separate digraphs
represent two vowels, separated as if there were a diseresis on the second
e (but there is none!)

Examples :

cœur (c<oe>ur), ŒUVRES (<OE>UVRES) COMPLÈTES DE VICTOR HUGO, bœuf, œuf
[the joined digraph is required]

coexistence, coercitif, Groenland
[the joined digraph is prohibited, and there is no diaeresis to give us a

So these characters (Œ=OE, œ=oe) are called JOINED DIGRAPH in Latin 0, not

For searching, equivalence with the two characters is required sometimes
(to allow searching in old files which were technically poor) and not in
other circumstances.

For sorting, proximity is desired with separated digraphs oe and OE, but
there is a difference in case of homographic ties (see ISO/IEC FCD 14651,
under ballot by the end of this month).

If you want to make a parallel with other languages, it is about the same
as eszet (ß) in German, except that we definitely need the upper case
letter as well (as French also needs an uppercase Y DIAERESIS, this is also
fixed in Latin 0).

Alain LaBonté

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