Re: triple diacritic (sch with ligature tie in a German dialect writing document)

From: John Hudson (
Date: Wed Jun 14 2006 - 14:31:13 CDT

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    Kenneth Whistler wrote:

    >>If I had to propose this for Unicode, I would propose a single "triple
    >>diacritic" COMBINING TRIPLE BREVE BELOW, rather than precombined
    >>lower-, title- and uppercase "sch with ligature tie" in rough analogy

    >>Would this be the way to go?

    > In my opinion, no. Once spanning mechanisms go beyond two
    > base characters, it is no longer useful to try to treat
    > them as encoded characters, as it is increasingly unlikely
    > that appropriate rendering mechanisms will be available for
    > them.
    > An arbitrary-length spanning undertie or overtie is in
    > principle more related to other mechanisms of highlighting
    > arbitrary segments of text, such as underscoring,
    > overscoring, and the like. I think the representation of
    > such in digital text should be handled by style and
    > markup, rather than by seeking solutions in character
    > encoding.

    My approach has been to handle such things at the font level using either ligatures, if
    dealing with a known and discreet set of sequences for a particular language (e.g. ch with
    underscore for Ethiopic transcription), or using contextually subsituted beginning, middle
    and end glyphs for arbitrary sequences (e.g. overscores for Greek nomina sacra). In these
    cases, I think it is certainly desirable to handle the underties or overties in charactar

    John Hudson

    Tiro Typeworks
    Vancouver, BC
    I am not yet so lost in lexicography, as to forget
    that words are the daughters of earth, and that things
    are the sons of heaven.  - Samuel Johnson

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