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

From: David Possin (
Date: Sat Jul 20 2002 - 01:05:23 EDT

To clarify yet another thread without facts, here is a loose
translation what Duden 19th Edition has to say, using TeX notation:

Die Ligatur fasst Buchstaben zusammen, die im Wortstamm
"The Ligatur combines characters that belong to each other in a base
schaffen, schafft, erfindet, Pfiff, abflauen, Leidenschaft, heftig

KEINE Ligatur steht zwischen Wortstamm und Endung (Ausnahme: fi).
"No ligature is allowed between base word and [grammatical] end
(exception fi)"
ich schauf"|le, ich kauf"|te, höf"|lich; aber: streifig, affig

KEINE Ligatur steht in der Wortfuge von Zusammensetzungen.
"No ligature may be in the combining characters of concatenated words,
except when one 'f' is omitted in old rules."
Schaf"|fell, Kauf"|leute, Schilf"|insel; aber bei Ausfall
eines f: Schiffahrt (nur alte Rechtschreibung)

Im Zweifelsfall setzt man die Ligatur entsprechend der Gliederung des
Wortes nach Sprechsilben.
"If the correct usage of ligatures cannot be determined as described
above then apply the ligatures according to the way the syllables are
Rohstoff"|frage, Sauerstoff"|flasche, kniff"|lig, schaff"|ten

Schließt eine Abkürzung mit zwei Buchstaben, die eine Ligatur bilden
können, dann wird diese angewendet.
"If an abbreviation ends with two chrarcters that could form a
liguture, then it shall be applied"
Aufl. (aber: Auf"|lage), gefl. (aber: gefällig, gefälligst)

This is all I could find concerning ligatures online in the Duden. They
only relate to the ligatures available in TeX and Unicode (ff, fi, fl,
ffi, ffl, Unicode FB00-FB04).

One interesting aspect I found was that the term ligatures is also used
for consonant combinations that may not be hyphenated, but have no
special typestting rules. In the old German rules combinations of "bl"
and "kr" were not allowed to be split, but now they can be: "Pro-blem",
"Se-kretär" is now "Prob-lem", "Sek-retär". And the combination "ck"
may not be split into "k-k" anymore.

For those really interested in the subject, and you can read German, I
recommend the article from Die Zeit, probably the most respected
newspaper in Germany:
It demonstrates with many examples how absurd the new hyphenation rules
are and why they refuse to obey them in many instances.

My personal opinion: Their typesetting is exceptional and can be used
as guidance.

If anybody needs a translation, let me know, but it will cost many
beers. The German language is concise and precise, even with long words
... to create the same precision in English I need 3 to 4 times the
words in English. I learned precision in Germany, I will not settle for
less, even if you can't sell it anymore.

I am enjoying how details are nailed down to reality in this list,
thank you all for it,


--- Asmus Freytag <> wrote:
> At 12:48 PM 7/19/02 -0700, Eric Muller wrote:
> >Markus Scherer wrote:
> >
> >>Asmus taught me something about German, so I wonder how many
> Germans are
> >>aware of the ligature rules and would (and do!) object to standard
> >>ligatures being used by default.
> >
> >"Printing should be invisible" - Beatrice Warde
> >
> >(see e.g. <>)
> These rules are unusually well documented in that they appear in
> Duden,
> which really is de facto the 'users' manual' for German. For
> comparison, in
> the German context, Duden is more widely available, and more
> universally
> considered 'the' authority than the Chicago Manual of Style in the
> US.
> Since (up to now) most desktop applications had no way of producing
> ligatures (they are not in the popular code pages) the problem did
> not pose
> itself. OpenType is changing that.
> A./

Dave Possin
Globalization Consultant

Do You Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Health - Feel better, live better

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Fri Jul 19 2002 - 23:21:02 EDT