From: Asmus Freytag (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Fri Jan 26 2007 - 11:59:05 CST
> Now let's say that I have a text in typical modern German, which I
> decide I want to display in blackletter type (noting your accurate
> objection to use of the specific term fraktur). What degree of this
> conversion should I be able to rely on to be automated, and what
> degree will require editorial intervention *in the text*? I don't know
> the answer to that question, and I suspect it is something that could
> generate a good deal of debate.
The rules for the use of long s, and for ligatures (in German), both
require that you know the word boundaries inside a compound word. As has
been demonstrated on this list many times, there are cases where even
dictionary-based approaches must fail, because the same string of
letters can represent two different compound words (with different
location of the boundary).
Further, the use of Antiqua for "foreign" words holds more firmly than a
similar rule for use of italics in modern English for the same purpose.
This requires more dictionary-based support, and is complicated by the
fact that it does not extend to names.
A spell checker could help you with the long/short s, but unless you use
*character codes* to prohibit the ligatures, and made sure that your
interface to the spell checker does not suppress ZWNJ, it would be
little help in sorting out the prohibited ligatures.
If you had a system that tapped into the hyphenation data (modified to
distinguish component words as well as mere syllable boundaries),to
disable ligature formation for at least the default word components,
then your task of text intervention could be reduced to the exceptional
cases. However, note that this requires an interaction between
components that is absent from current architectures, and it requires
that dictionary-based data be tweaked, at least, for the purpose. Both
non-trivial. (In theory, the ligature problem exists in modern texts as
well, albeit to a lesser degree due to fewer ligature pairs in antiqua
fonts, but is generally totally unsupported).
An ordinary spell checker would have troubles with the foreign words
convention, since spell checkers usually don't interact with font markup.
There's no debate that the amount of text intervention would be
considerable, that there are definite limits to what you can do (or
assist the user with) by software, and that doing even that would
require considerable modifications/adjustments to existing architectures
and dictionary data.
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