RE: Latin ligatures and Unicode

From: Michael Everson (
Date: Mon Dec 27 1999 - 14:23:56 EST

Ar 09:36 -0800 1999-12-27, scríobh
>Otto Stolz made this example, that Eberhard Pehlemann repeated:
>>The two german words
>>- Wachstube (wax tube)
>>- Wachstube (guard's room)
>>look exactly the same when written in latin and without use of ligatures.
>But they >have a different meaning.

That meaning is preserved by semantic ligatures in Fraktur.... These are
easy to represent with the ZWL:

Wac&hstube and Wac&hF&tube
(where F in the 2nd example is the long s and & is the ZWL.

>I too think that Michael Everson's ZWL is needed (although I would see it
>unified with ZWJ)

I don't think so. The ZWJ does something else. It's a subtle difference,
but it is a good one.

>Eberhard correctly says that these ligatures are *compulsory* in Fraktur. If
>they are compulsory, then they must be automatic

This does not follow. There are rules as to how to implement them.... I'll
be publishing these in my next paper.

>whenever a "c" is
>*immediately* followed by an "h", a "ch" ligature should be used; whenever a
>"s" is *immediately* followed by a "t", a "<long s>t" ligature should be
>No ZWL is *necessary* in these cases: the ligatures are the "default" for
>that font, so the users should simply have them or indicate otherwise (using

No, that's not right. That's not the way the current model we have for
Brahmic scripts works either. You could do it this way, but it really
doesn't fix the problems with Runic etc.

>Call it what you like: "word boundary", "morpheme boundary", "lexeme
>boundary": however, it is the position of this boundary that makes
>"Wachs/tube" different from "Wach/stube", not the presence or the absence of
>a ligature in Fraktur.

But it is the correct use of ligatures that makes the word unambiguous in
Fraktur where it is not in Roman.

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
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