Re: [OpenType] Proposal: Ligatures w/ ZWJ in OpenType

From: John Hudson (
Date: Sat Jul 06 2002 - 18:11:12 EDT

At 11:21 7/6/2002, John M. Fiscella wrote:

>This is the first time I have seen an intelligent proposal as to the role
>and application of the ZWJ and ZWNJ in non-Arabic scripts. But one problem
>comes to mind, however. What if a font not having the ZWJ or ZWNJ is used
>in an attempt to render the text of a document using ZWJ and ZWNJ? You may
>get boxes (depending on what glyph was designed for the .notdef character).

This is an issue regardless of whether my proposal or any other is adopted
to handle ZFJ sequences. There are going to be documents containing this
character -- and ZWNJ -- and fonts that do not contain these characters may
display them with .notdef glyphs. The only solution is system or
application intelligence that is able to ensure that no attempt is made to
display glyphs for these characters. This issue seems to have already been
resolved in MS text processing, at least as far as I have tested it in
WordPad. I have inserted a ZWJ character in a string of text using a
standard PS Type 1 font, and the character is treated as a zero-width, no
outline control character.

There are numerous issues regarding the use of ZWJ and ZWNJ, but none that
seem insurmountable. For instance, it seems essential to me that spellcheck
and text search tools should be able to ignore the presence of these
characters or, better yet, that it should be possible for the user to
toggle recognition of these characters.

John Hudson

Tiro Typeworks
Vancouver, BC

Language must belong to the Other -- to my linguistic community
as a whole -- before it can belong to me, so that the self comes to its
unique articulation in a medium which is always at some level
indifferent to it. - Terry Eagleton

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