ligatures in German

From: Arno Schmitt (
Date: Sat Jan 15 2000 - 02:36:32 EST

comments 12. Rules for ligation in Fraktur German. (p. 8 of n2147)

> Fraktur ligatures:
This list of 14 ligatures makes no sense.
There are 4 obligatory ligatures: ck, ch, tz, sz
t t, l l, s ch are not true ligatures, i.e. the letters to not
Whether ligatures for ss, si, st
and ff, fi, fl, ft are needed depends on the
form of f and the long s. Bauer and some other designed fonts with
only the four obligatory ligatures.

> There are apparently no ligature triples in Fraktur.
Here Michael contradicts himself: he includes the sch-ligature.
But, since this really is s + ch-ligature, it is right to say:
There are no triple in German -- Fraktur and Roman.
This is a big mistake in the current OpenType model. Whereas the
Turkish f-i case is taken care of, one can not get ff, fi, fl
without getting ffi and ffl as well. Here Germans would need a

> Syllables are not relevant ... the syllable-division decides
Another contradiction.
Syllables are not relevant for the ending -ig (and the very rare
ending -isch). Syllables are not relevant for the ligatures of two
equal letters (none of with is compulsory), or rather: when a
double consonant is not pronounced as two consonants, but shortens
the preceding vowel, hyphenation between them is possible AND
ligatures are used IF they exist in the font used.

> Ligatures are not used to save space. Exceptions: ch, ck, tu and tz ()
Nonsense. Apparently Michael did not understand the German text.
So, allow me to explain.
In English one uses italics, bold and (Small-)Caps to stress a
word or a couple of words.
In Fraktur the normal well of s t r e s s i n g the i m p o r t
a n c e of a word is spacing. (-> so intracharacter spacing can
not be used in German--Fraktur or Roman-- for justifying lines).
The second method was to underline. Bold type was an adoption for
Roman fonts. CAPS are n e v e r used.
So, what is meant in the German original is:
the stressed form of Schnupftuch is
S ch n u p f t u ch

> Note the recently discussed example Wachs-tube (wax tube)
  vs. Wachtube (guardroom).

What should I note. Here neither ZWL nor ZWNL are NEEDED.
In Unicode the difference is expressed by using two different s,
and by placing the soft-hyphen at different places.
Note, that the opposition between Tau-fliege and Tauf-liege is
There is no German word Tauf-liege. There is Taufbecken, Taufakt,
Taufbund, Taufgelbde, Taufgeschenk, Taufschale, Taufpate,
Taufvater, Taufzeuge -- and there is Tufling WITHOUT fl ligature
(observing the syllable soft-hyphen divide)

Arno Schmitt

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