Re: ZWJ, ZWNJ and VS in Latin and other Greek-derived scripts

From: Asmus Freytag (
Date: Thu Jan 25 2007 - 19:28:34 CST

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    On 1/25/2007 4:18 PM, John H. Jenkins wrote:
    > On Jan 25, 2007, at 4:39 PM, Ruszlan Gaszanov wrote:
    >> Richard Wordingham wrote:
    >>> In general, the effects of ZWJ and ZWNJ are optional. Thus if I use
    >>> ZWJ in
    >>> 'Caesar', it is up to the rendering system as to whether I see
    >>> something
    >>> like 'Cæsar'. (In some scripts, ZWJ and ZWNJ do have effects that are
    >>> mandatory on rendering systems.)
    >> Uh, ok... and how about making those effects mandatory for
    >> Latin/Greek/Cyrillic etc. too?
    > It is *precisely* this suggestion which makes Latin/Greek/Cyrillic
    > typographers faint in horror. *Forbidding* ligation in certain
    > contexts where it is linguistically inappropriate isn't so bad as
    > making ligature formation *mandatory*. (Other scripts are different in
    > this regard, I hasten to add before someone else does.) æ is a
    > borderline case because it is a distinct letter in some alphabets, but
    > saying that you *must* draw <f ZWJ i> as fi is bad because the
    > existence of an fi ligature simply doesn't make sense in some type
    > designs.
    Well put.
    > In Latin typography, ligature formation is largely a matter of
    > stylistic preference. Stylistic preferences do not belong in plain text.
    In some styles, ligature formation is subject to additional rules that
    are then no longer a stylistic preference. The most widely know, if only
    historically relevant, of these is Fraktur (which is encoded in the
    Latin script). In Fraktur style, and probably dependent on the language,
    there are a number of ligatures that are essentially mandatory, such as
    'ch' for Fraktur texts in German, and others, such as 'st' that are
    mandatory in some words, and prohibited in others.

    Once you decide to use Fraktur, ligatures become part of your
    orthography. There are some optional (or less mandatory) ligatures as
    well, often used to help justify the line, but the basic system is
    different from antiqua or more modern styles. There are even conventions
    on what part of the text could not be set in Fraktur - just like
    Katakana vs. Hiragana in Japanese. These aspects are interesting to
    note, because you cannot simply switch font style and get a document
    correctly rendered in Fraktur. Yet noone seriously wants to disunify
    Fraktur from Latin.


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