RE: Dutch IJ, again

From: Kent Karlsson (
Date: Wed May 28 2003 - 16:49:41 EDT

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    Kenneth Whistler quoted and wrote:
    > > > From: "Anto'nio Martins-Tuva'lkin" <>
    > > > > On 2003.05.25, 00:00, Philippe Verdy <> wrote:
    > > > > > even if the Dutch language considers it as a single letter,
    in a
    > > > > > way similar to the Spanish "ch"
    > > > >
    > > > > I see one major difference: When you apply extra wide inter-char
    > > > > distance, you (should) get, f.i.:
    > > > > K o r t r ij k and not K o r t r i j k
    > > > > but E l c h e and not E l ch e
    > > > > This is common practice in both spanish and dutch typography,
    > > > > I was told in this forum that the surest way to keep this
    working in
    > > > > Unicode texts is to use "i<WJ>j" for Dutch and plain "ij" for
    > > > > languages.
    > One can imagine an implementation of automatic letterspacing,
    > such that a sequence marked explicitly as a digraph would not
    > expand, but that one not so marked would expand. But such
    > distinctions would only need to be made in the rather dubious
    > conditions of: A) Multilingual text that is also B) marked
    > explicitly for language and that also C) requires different
    > rules for letterspacing language-by-language. Under such
    > circumstances, you could indicate the differences for <ij>
    > either by making use of the U+0133 ij digraph character for
    > one and <i,j> for the other, or you could indicate the
    > differences by <i,CGJ,j> versus <i,j>. The first approach
    > would likely work more easily with existing software, but
    > results in a problematical representation of Dutch data.
    > The second is a more generic Unicode approach, but would
    > likely be ignored by most software.

    As implied by the quote before Ken's reply, CGJ should NOT affect

    The ij ligature character appears to have a status in-between the
    "loathsome" Latin ligature characters in FBxx (I like such ligatures,
    and more of them, but not those ligature *characters*, the ligatures
    should be generated by the font) as well as the dz/lj/etc. digraphs on
    one hand, and the orthographic ligatures, like the ae ligature and oe
    ligature, on the other hand. So I would conclude that **when a
    clear distinction need be made** between "Dutch ij" and "other ij",
    use the ij ligature character for the "Dutch ij" (and have it mapped
    on the keyboard for that purpose), for letterspacing, linebreaking,
    and vertical writing. Though in most cases it should be ok to write
    just ordinary ij also for the "Dutch ij". Complexities like CGJ and ZWJ
    seems to be overkill or misapplied here.

                    /kent k

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