Glyphs for German quotation marks

From: Otto Stolz (
Date: Fri Jun 02 2006 - 10:36:37 CDT

  • Next message: Andreas Prilop: "Re: Glyphs for German quotation marks"


    Walter Keutgen is under the impression
    > that the German quotation marks will vary depending on the FONT.

    Of course, the quotation marks do not vary; it is simply the fonts
    that are off the mark.

    This is a problem I had long planned to bring to the attention of
    this forum, but I have not come around to, so far. But now, as
    discussion has verged on this topic, I feel I should finally find
    the time to report my findings.

    As my pertinent contribution (containing two small pictures) was
    rejected from the list due to its excessive size, I have now
    concocted a WWW page dicussing this problem:

    Here's an excerpt from that WWW page.

    The problem stems from these facts:
    - Unicode has unified the opening English, and the closing German,
        quote symbols, based on their *Roman* glyphs;
    - however, in other writing styles, the glyphs for English opening.
        and German closing, quote symbols differ conspicuously;
    - the designers of most fonts do not take into account these different
        usages for U+201C, and U+2018, and their respective glyphs.
    The net result is that I can use only particular (mostly: Roman) fonts,
    or that I have to change my plain text (!) when I wish to use a different
    font (thus misleading content-assessing software). In WWW pages,
    I can never be sure that my audience will see the correct quote symbols,
    as the reader (end-user) can choose any font at his discretion.

    Look at the WWW page for examples and a more comprehensive discussion.

    I really do not know what to do about this problem.
    - Almost certainly, it is too late now to dis-unify LEFT DOUBLE QUOTATION
    - The Unicode Standard should mention this problem in the code charts,
        and discuss it in chapter 6.2
    - How can we stimulate progress in font, and software, technology?
         Font designers should provide different, language-dependent, glyphs
          for U+201C (and likewise for U+2018).
         Rendering engines should observe language specifications.
         Text processing software, and browsers, should relate the language
          specification to the rendering engine.
         Note that a document can contain passages in various languages,
          so the language must be specified for a run of text, not for a whole
        (This technical progress would also solve the notorious problem of
        the Serbian Cyrillic italic glyphs.)
    - While we still do not have this perfect combo of fonts, rendering
        and text processing, how can we get vendors to provide fonts
        suitable for German (and, b. t. w., for Serbian) under the same
        terms as the current English-biased fonts?

    What should I do myself about this problem? Is there any formal
    proposition I could make?

    Best wishes,
         Otto Stolz

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