Re: Multiple Directions (was: Re: Coptic/Greek (Re: Phoenician))

From: Andrew C. West (
Date: Mon May 17 2004 - 08:29:20 CDT

  • Next message: John Cowan: "Re: Multiple Directions (was: Re: Coptic/Greek (Re: Phoenician))"

    On Mon, 17 May 2004 12:15:55 +0100, Jon Hanna wrote:
    > It seems to me that as far as Ogham goes the positioning of successive glyphs
    > more comparable to the way a graphics program will position text along a path
    > (allowing text to go in a circle, for example) than the differences between
    > LTR, RTL, vertical and boustrophedon scripts. The text isn't composed of a BTT
    > passage, a LTR passage and a TTB passage, but of a single passage which follows
    > a path which changes through those three directions.
    > Paths are not a plain text matter.

    I agree entirely with this. A lump of rock (and what I'm interested in are
    monumental Ogham inscriptions) is not comparable to a sheet of paper or a
    computer screen, and it makes perfect sense to reformat the wandering path of
    the original Ogham text as horizontal LTR lines for display or printing within a
    text document.

    What intrigues me is how Ogham text would be embedded within a vertical script
    such as Mongolian. Perhaps Ogham isn't really that good an example of a
    bottom-to-top writing system (are there any good examples ?), especially as very
    few Ogham inscriptions extend to more than two or three words, and it would make
    most sense for Ogham embedded in Mongolian to simply follow the directionality
    of the surrounding text, i.e. read top-to-bottom, in which case it would simply
    be rotated LTR text, no different to how Latin text embedded in Mongolian or
    vertical Chinese is normally rendered.

    Thus, if "tb-lr" were supported, your browser would display the following HTML
    line as vertical Mongolian with embedded Ogham reading top-to-bottom, but in a
    plain text editor, the Mongolian and Ogham would both read LTR, and everyone
    would be happy :

    <p style="writing-mode : tb-lr;">Some Mongolian text some Ogham text some more
    Mongolian text</p>


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