RE: Character identities

From: Marco Cimarosti (
Date: Fri Oct 25 2002 - 13:17:32 EDT

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    Kent Karlsson wrote:
    > >... Like it or not, superscript e *is* the
    > > same diacritic
    > > that later become "¨", so there is absolutely no violation of
    > > the Unicode
    > > standard. Of course, this only applies German.
    > Font makers, please do not meddle with the authors intent
    > (as reflected in the text of the document!). Just as it
    > is inappropriate for font makers to use an ø glyph for ö
    > (they are "the same", just slightly different derivations
    > from "o^e"), it is just as inappropriate for font makers to
    > use a "o^e" glyph for ö (by default in a Unicode font). Though
    > in some sense the "same" they are still different enough for
    > authors to care, and it is up to the document author/editor
    > to decide, not the font maker.

    It is certainly up to the author of the document to decide.

    But, as I explained more at length in my reply to Marc, the are two
    different approaches for deciding this:

    1. When this decision is a matter of *content* (as may be the case when
    writing about linguistics, to differentiate spellings with "o^e" from
    spellings with ö), it is more appropriate to make the difference at the
    *encoding* level, by using the appropriate code point.

    2. When this decision is only a matter of *presentation*, it is more
    appropriate to make the difference by using a font which uses the desired
    glyph for the normal "¨".

    > If the "umlaut" to "overscript e" transformation is put under
    > this feature for some fonts, I see no major reason to complain...
    > (As others have noted, it does not really work for the long s,
    > unless the language is labelled 'en'...)

    And, of course, in an ideal word option 2 will be done by switching a font
    feature, rather than switching to an ad-hoc font. This makes it possible for
    font designers to provide a single font which covers both needs. But this is
    just optimization, not compliance!

    _ Marco

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