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

From: John Hudson (
Date: Thu Jan 25 2007 - 21:08:30 CST

  • Next message: John Hudson: "Re: ZWJ, ZWNJ and VS in Latin and other Greek-derived scripts"

    John H. Jenkins wrote:

    > The problem is the implication that ligature control belongs in plain
    > text. By and large, for Latin it doesn't. For Latin, it doesn't make
    > much sense to specify ligature formation involving certain characters
    > in the absence of information on what font is being used. Some fonts,
    > like Courier, will typically have no or very few ligatures. Other
    > fonts, such as Zapfino, will have huge ligature repertoires.

    Yes. Ligation is fundamentally an aspect of text display, not of text encoding, and is
    therefore typeface- or font-specific.

    The exceptional case is the transcription of manuscripts or of printed editions in which,
    for scholarly purposes, there is a desire to record in the text some aspects of its
    original visual form. But not only is this an exceptional requirement, far removed from
    the normal production of typographic texts, it is not evident that there is a need for
    such information to be recorded at the plain text level, nor that such information,
    wherever it is recorded, requires to be displayed other than in specialised applications
    and with specialised fonts. The variety of information about a document that might be
    preserved in an electronic edition is much greater than what letters are ligated and which
    are not -- there are variant letterforms (or variant ligatures for that matter) that may
    be significant, corrections to the document by various hands, colouration, etc. -- and
    this variety of information is best handled through XML or similar markup conventions. It
    is also worth noting that even if an electronic text records original ligation using ZWJ,
    it is quite likely that no font in existence contains the particular ligature necessary to
    display a particular instance of such usage. I have seen plenty of manuscripts for which a
    custom font would be necessary for accurate representation, and typical text fonts would
    be entirely inadequate even if the ligatures they did contain could be accessed using the
    ZWJ convention.

    John Hudson

    Tiro Typeworks
    Vancouver, BC
    Marie Antoinette was a woman whose core values were chocolate,
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