Re: Display of Isolated Nonspacing Marks (was Re: Questions on ZWNBS...)

From: Peter Kirk (
Date: Tue Aug 05 2003 - 05:27:56 EDT

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    On 04/08/2003 17:36, Kenneth Whistler wrote:

    >Peter Kirk asked:
    >>A similar issue which is not Hebrew related would be a (mythical)
    >>requirement to display a diacritic like 0315, 031B or 0322 in isolation.
    >>It would not always be appropriate to use a space or NBSP as a base
    >>character as this would indent the glyph from the beginning of a line in
    >>a way which might not be wanted. What would be the recommended encoding
    >>if one wanted to display one of these characters with no leading white
    >If you just want to display a nonspacing mark in isolation, then
    >you apply it to a SPACE (or NO-BREAK SPACE) and typically let the
    >metrics of the font then handle how the mark is going to appear
    >"floating in space" as it were.
    >If you want to display some character like U+0315 COMBINING COMMA
    >ABOVE RIGHT *and* you want to do it is isolation *and* you want
    >it to occur at the beginning of a line *and* you want there to
    >be no display width between the margin and the left edge of the
    >display bits of the glyph, then you have stepped over the boundaries
    >of what is reasonable to expect plain text to convey. Feel free
    >to make use of the higher-level capabilities of your word
    >processor or page layout program to individually adjust the
    >positioning of particular glyphs displayed in particular fonts.
    Thank you. Understood.

    >More generally, however, when the issue of the relative
    >position of a non-spacing mark with respect to its base
    >glyph is what is in question, the standard recommends
    >(and uses) the convention of displaying the non-spacing
    >mark on a dotted circle as a base. This makes it clear that
    >we are talking about the non-spacing mark itself, but also
    >makes clear the positional differences between left, centered,
    >and right forms, for example.
    If I want to do this, should I explicitly encode a dotted circle, or
    should I encode nothing and expect the font to generate the dotted
    circle, as it often does?


    Peter Kirk

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