RE: liminal space

From: Kenneth Whistler (
Date: Wed Dec 22 1999 - 16:32:58 EST

Gregg suggested:

> > > In some cases one may want to place diacritics over some
> > whitespace or a
> > > tatweel stroke, within a word.
> >
> > Ah, in the category of "whitespace" you include the whitespace between
> > non-ligated characters, for example the space between "a" and "b" in
> > this example: "ab". Whereas when I talk of whitespace, I
> > mean whitespace
> > that is wider than normal inter-letter spacing (absent ties between
> > letters), as in "a b". Does this difference simply make no sense in
> > Arabic script?
> >
> I guess I'm thinking in terms of "where there ain't no ink". But I think
> this is one of those areas where we could use some more refined terminology.
> How's about "liminal space"? I'm not sure what it means, but I remember it
> from an Anthropology class I took 150 years ago; I think it describes
> various kinds of cultic in-betweenness, or threshhold space, something like
> that. I propose we use "liminal space" to mean the space between the
> semiotically significant parts of letterforms, irrespective of ink. So both
> joined and non-joined sequences of letterforms are punctuated by liminal
> space, which is crossed by tie strokes in the former case and not in the
> latter. So getting back to the original issue: one might want to place a
> diacritic in liminal space.

Since "liminal" in its usual sense means "barely perceptible", i.e.
"at the threshold limit of perception", "liminal space" hardly seems
an appropriate coinage for this. Maybe one could say that a hair
space is a liminal space, but that would hardly apply to a regular
space or a tie stroke.


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