From: Dominikus Scherkl (Dominikus.Scherkl@glueckkanja.com)
Date: Thu Nov 07 2002 - 07:52:48 EST
> > There are wonderful words in German like "Wachstube"
> > this could mean "guards room" (Wach-Stube, so "st" may be
> > ligated) or "wax tube" (Wachs-Tube, so an "st"-ligature
> > would force misreadings).
> In the case of Wachstube, using an st ligature would only 'force a
> misreading' if the correct reading were 'wax tube'.
yes, so if this meaning was intended, it's very bad to ligate.
if you don't like this example, how about 'fl' (very common in
english)? Several german words are composed of one part ending in 'f'
and next part beginning with 'l'. But if this second part is e.g.
"lasche" (hanger) an 'fl'-ligature lead the reader to "flasche" (bottle).
The situation get even worse if the word is then (erroneous) hyphenated
at this point (if you're lucky, at the end of a page).
You may need to flip the page twice or more until you recognise that
the strange "grei-flasche" was intendet to mean "greif-lasche" (one of
those things you hold on in a bus or so).
> I don't believe that English readers encountering an fb
> ligature in the middle of the compound word 'goofball'
> are confused about where the syllables, and hence the subwords,
> end and begin.
That may be because english doesn't use word-concatenations the
way german do: words like "Krankenversischerungsbeitragserhöhungen"
become even more unreadable if you hide the in-word boundaries with
> plenty of read hundreds of books in during their life without
> even knowing that ligatures exist.
I stumbled sometimes (especialy in the last years, where several
publishers have changed to computer-typesetting systems) over strange
places to hyphenate or ligate glyphs. It sometimes had made me
very angry how sloopy books are typeset nowadays.
> Are the German ligation rules backed up by any empirical
> studies of the ways in which competent German readers read?
Yes, I think so (and feel it personaly).
And, as someone mentioned, german is not the only language where
word-joining ligatures are prohibited for the reason to increase
-- Dominikus Scherkl email@example.com
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