Re: ZWJ and Latin Ligatures

From: Michael Everson (
Date: Tue Jul 02 2002 - 08:51:15 EDT

At 11:00 -0600 2002-07-01, John H. Jenkins wrote:

>I guess one thing that's frustrating for me personally in this
>perennial discussion is the creation of this false dichotomy, that
>ligation control either *must* be in plain text or *must* be
>expressly forbidden in plain text. I would agree, Michael, that
>your arguments that some degree of ligation control belongs in plain
>text were unanswerable. You did a good job there. But at the same
>time, I've never heard you argue that the only way to turn ligatures
>on or off is in plain text.

That is absolutely true. I have never argued that the only way to
turn ligatures on or off is in plain text. I saw that there were
difficult edge cases and sought blessing for the ZWJ/ZWNJ mechanism
to handle them, and won the day. But it would certainly be my view
that those should only be used where predictable ligation does not
occur. A Runic font which had an AAT/OpenType/Graphite ligatures-on
mechanism would, in my view, be inappropriate, because ligation is
unusual in Runic, never the norm, and should only be used on a
case-by-case basis. Runic fonts should have the ZWJ pairs encoded in
the glyph tables.

>And under no circumstances should new Latin ligatures be added to Unicode.

I agree.

I wonder if it wouldn't be useful at some stage for me to pick the
best bits out of my papers and do them up as a Unicode Technical Note.

Michael Everson *** Everson Typography ***

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