Re: Vertical BIDI

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Wed May 19 2004 - 07:21:42 CDT

  • Next message: John Cowan: "Re: Vertical BIDI"

    From: "John Cowan" <>
    > The difficulty arises when Ogham is mixed with vertical Han or with
    > Mongolian, since once the basic directionality becomes vertical, the
    > tendency to read the Ogham BTT will become automatic. This is analogous
    > to the problem that fantasai has pointed out with Latin script written
    > in lr progression when Han gets mixed in: the normal reading direction
    > of lr-Latin is BTT, but any Han included will automatically be read TTB,
    > corrupting it.

    corrupting is probably a bad term here. Latin vertical text is _often_ written
    by rotating it 90 degrees counterclockwise (same rotation direction for angled
    presentation at 45 degrees, commonly found in the header row of tables with many
    narrow columns), so that it reads bottom to top. But the clockwise rotation is
    also possible (commonly found in the footer row of tables with many narrow

    For Latin, the rotation of the baseline is a matter of style. In Han or Kana
    texts, occurences of Latin can occur in either direction, but with different
    baseline orientation.

    Less often (?), the baseline of Latin glyphs is not rotated but glyphs are put
    one below the previous one like in crosswords (will happen mostly for
    uppercase-only style, as this style is horrible with lowercase letters). This
    presentation would be consistent with traditional vertical Han presentation
    (where glyphs are keeping their horizontal baseline, without being rotated); it
    may be ideal for small inclusions of Latin in Han texts, however it is inadapted
    for the cursive handwritten form, where the writer would probably turn his paper
    90 degrees counterclockwise for writing it.

    Latin is quite permissive for the rotation of its glyphs, because the baseline
    orientation is very easy to figure out without ambiguities for readers. This is
    not true for Ogham where you need to know the language to see in which direction
    the characters must be read and interpreted.

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