Re: East Asian Emphasis Marks (Japanese bouten, etc)

From: Martin Duerst (
Date: Sun Mar 12 2006 - 19:42:47 CST

  • Next message: Ken Lunde: "Re: East Asian Emphasis Marks (Japanese bouten, etc)"

    At 07:50 06/03/13, fantasai wrote:
    >I'm currently going through emphasis marks used in East Asian texts
    >to see what options we need to define in CSS. One of the questions I
    >have is, where do the glyphs come from? Kobayashi Tatsuo and I looked
    >through the Unicode repetoire last week, and we found
    >which covers only two of the shapes. Also, they are in the compatibility
    >forms block, so their use is discouraged.
    >Paul Nelson says Microsoft uses fixed shapes for these emphasis marks.
    >In the case of the sesame at least, the shape in printed materials closely
    >parallels U+3001 IDEOGRAPHIC COMMA, which is provided by the font.

    Yes, it indeed very much looks that way. Your examples show dots
    (above) in horizontal text, and commas (or comma-like shapes) (on the
    right) in vertical text, and some text in the scans actually say
    that this is current practice.

    >I would like to know, is there a way, should there be a way, for the font
    >in use to have some say over the glyph shape for emphasis marks?

     From a purely aesthetic point of view, I'd guess yes. For a very
    light font, smaller dots/commas may be more appropriate. For a very
    heavy font, bigger dots/commas may be more appropriate. There may also
    be issues with how far a way from the main line the marks go; for
    different fonts, the optically best distance may be different.

    But from a practical viewpoint, it is very well possible that such
    adjustments are not done.

    I suggest you look at some fonts, or contact some font providers
    (e.g. Adobe and others).

    Being able to specify a specific character as an emphasis mark
    sounds attractive, but it would bring up the need to specify
    several other parameters, such as scaling and offsets.

    Regards, Martin.

    >As for other shapes, I have scanned in a few examples:
    >I also remember a Tibetan book using x-shaped marks.
    >Any comments on shapes, usage patterns, usefulness of various settings,
    >etc. would be much appreciated.

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