Re: Latin ligatures and Unicode

From: Michael Everson (
Date: Mon Dec 20 1999 - 13:40:25 EST

Ar 09:31 -0800 1999-12-20, scríobh John Jenkins:

>Er, but Michael, that's my point -- the font-specific data doesn't belong in
>plain text. It belongs in the same level of formatting as the font
>specification itself.

No, that's where you are wrong. Ligation may be considered by some to be a
luxury (fi, fl ligs were present in Mac code tables but not Windows) but it
is NOT. It is an important typographic feature of all the European scripts
I have listed. It is certainly important for scholarly work.

>>> The substitution (whether ligatures are formed or not) may
>>> be specified on a language by language basis or you can
>>> make it the default (non-language specific) behaviour for
>>> your font.
>> This is not precise enough.
>It isn't precise enough for *plain text*, true. But I would argue that
>ligature formation doesn't belong in plain text.

And I would argue against you, and have since we first discussed encoding
Runic! I want a mechanism that makes my Gaelic Watts-fonts or my Runic
fonts _useable_ to represent easily all the sorts I need in the contexts I
need them for. Unicode does not serve my needs. Perversely, the mechanism I
am asking for is closely analogous to combining-character technology, which
also is not yet readily available in font-making programs, but for which I
have come to have faith. ZWL allows me to link my plain text to what is in
my glyph tables for a Latin or Runic font. VIRAMA allows me to do the same
for a Devanagari or Sinhala font.

>>> (Of course all this will only work in OT or AAT savvy applications.)
>> Name one?
>Adobe InDesign.

What is that? What does it do? I don't suppose it is free. Or inexpensive.
I was thinking about SimpleText and Quark....

Michael Everson ** Everson Gunn Teoranta **
15 Port Chaeimhghein Íochtarach; Baile Átha Cliath 2; Éire/Ireland
Vox +353 1 478 2597 ** Fax +353 1 478 2597 ** Mob +353 86 807 9169
27 Páirc an Fhéithlinn; Baile an Bhóthair; Co. Átha Cliath; Éire

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