RE: Character identities

From: Kent Karlsson (
Date: Wed Oct 30 2002 - 11:57:37 EST

  • Next message: Kent Karlsson: "RE: Character identities"

    > >Marco: It is o.k. (in a German-specific context) to display
    > > an umlaut as a macron (or a tilde, or a little e above),
    > > since that is what Germans do.
    > >
    > >Kent: It is *not* o.k. -- that constitutes changing a character.
    > Kent can't be right here.
    > 1. We have all seen examples, in print, in signage, and in
    > handwriting of German umlauts being displayed in each of those ways.
    > Obviously the underlying encoding of them is the same, as is the
    > intent.

    The underlying encoding *may* be the same (if there is an encoding
    at all...). Still, I claim, it should not be up to the font
    designer to make a font that shows e.g. an a-with-e-above glyph
    for a-diaeresis *without also* the font being explicitly requested
    (via some "higher-level protocol") to do such a mapping, via a
    "hist" feature (off by default) or whatever other mechanism. Such
    a mapping *amounts to* a transient character-to-character mapping.

    Just as I think an "author" (I use that in a general sense)
    should be in charge of the spelling in a document, the "author"
    should be in charge of what diacritics are used. Would it be
    a good idea for a British font to change "color" to "colour",
    "i18n" to "internationalisation"? AAT fonts can in principle
    do that (via glyph index mappings executed through a finite
    automaton, but that is beside the point), so should they? Is
    such a font (if it did this mapping by default) a Unicode font?
    Each item in these two example pairs are seen in print (etc.)
    and they are "known" to "mean" the same within each pair...

    There are signs (and printed texts) that say "G°teborg"; but
    we usually spell that "G÷teborg". Does that mean that the
    underlying encoding (if any) therefore must be the same (the
    same city is intended...), and ° is just a glyph variant of ÷
    (or the other way around), and a ((Unicode)) font may display
    ÷ as ° (without being asked to perform any extraneous mapping).
    Say the font is made for Norwegian. Is this all up to the font
    designer? This is an exact parallel to what we started off with.

                    /Kent K

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