Re: glyph selection for Unicode in browsers

From: John Cowan (
Date: Fri Sep 27 2002 - 09:16:24 EDT

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    Tex Texin scripsit:

    > I do need to point out that user preference is problematic if it means
    > that for a user to display a multilingual document, the user has to go
    > thru and specify font preferences for languages they know nothing about.

    How can this be avoided? If I print a document containing a small amount
    of text in Georgian (in a bibliography entry, say), I am not going to
    know if the Georgian font is the most beautiful thing ever made or one
    that is utterly illegible. I have to pass it to someone who can read
    Georgian and wait for the "Aah!" or "Arrgh!" as the case may be.

    Or I can take the default and hope for the best.

    > Just because I don't read CJK, doesn't mean I don't have legitimate
    > needs to display or print CJK in a typographically correct way.
    > Librarians, Commerce exchanges, mailing lists, localizers, etc.

    Since the issue is not really a matter of language, but of typographic
    tradition (see John Jenkins's excellent discussion of this question at, there is no such thing
    as a "typographically correct way". In particular (as noted in the FAQ),
    it is commonplace for a Japanese document that quotes Chinese text to
    use Japanese-style glyphs for both languages, as this is apparently less
    jarring to the average Japanese reader.

    > But although you didn't quite say this, a user could provide a
    > preference not for font, but language, i.e. if the script is CJK,
    > display it as C or J or K (or T). And given the language the font
    > mechanisms would do a reasonable thing.

    That is reasonable provided you grasp what is meant by "language
    preference" here: namely, typographical tradition preference. It would
    be like choosing between Fraktur and Antiqua when reading German text:
    this too is rather broader than a mere font difference.

    A mosquito cried out in his pain,               John Cowan
    "A chemist has poisoned my brain!"    
            The cause of his sorrow       
            Was para-dichloro-            
    Diphenyltrichloroethane.                                (aka DDT)

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