Re: Ligatures fi and ffi

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Thu Jun 02 2005 - 08:53:22 CDT

  • Next message: Philippe Verdy: "Re: Ligatures fi and ffi"

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Jukka K. Korpela" <>
    To: <>
    Sent: Wednesday, June 01, 2005 1:17 PM
    Subject: Ligatures fi and ffi

    > (I took the liberty of changing the Subject, since this isn't really about
    > "Glagolitic in Unicode 4.1" any more.)
    > On Tue, 31 May 2005, Philippe Verdy wrote:
    >> From: "С,?а.иsа ади>" <>
    >> > By using this kind of reasoning, we would end up asking why the heck
    >> > was ``fi'' or ``ffi'' encoded when these two can be expressed with
    >> > their
    >> > corresponding atoms
    >> Today, they would not be encoded.
    > I think they would be encoded even today, due to their presence in other
    > character codes. But they would not be encoded, and would not have been
    > encoded, without such background.

    No. They would not be encoded, because "other character codes" would not
    exist. All new charset developments these days are now backed by
    Unicode/ISO/IEC 10646 standards and their principles, where ligatures can
    already be produced by other means than just the encoding of combined

    This is true as well for combining sequences, unless they have a distinct
    semantic identity which is more than just its components, and that cannot be
    represented by a tailored collation table, or by typographic features. (This
    remark is going in the direction of the encoding of supplementary combined
    characters needed for African languages, as they will get normalized with
    simplified charsets. I discussed this issue separately in French in the
    African Unicode list; for them, compatibility characters will be needed in
    Unicode to make these African standards workable in practice and

    >> - - ligature processing is a required feature to support
    >> even legacy ISO 8859 charsets like Arabic, or Indian standard charsets
    >> (ISCII).
    > Pardon? In which sense is ligature processing _required_? Do you mean that
    > it is forbidden now to render "f" followed by "i" as two letters, without
    > using a ligature? I don't see how an application would even be required to
    > be _capable_ of using a ligature.

    Required means "necessary to support some languages using common scripts". I
    don't mean that ligatures are required in all case, because they remain
    optional in many scripts.

    >> They remain there for
    >> compatibility, they are not recommanded,
    > Is there any explicit statement in the Unicode standard that says that the
    > ligatures should not be used?

    I said that? No. They are ligatures, so this is a typographic difference.
    They don't have distinct semantics by themselves.

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