Re: How to write Armenian ligatures?

From: Andrew West (
Date: Fri Nov 23 2007 - 18:03:11 CST

  • Next message: John Hudson: "Re: How to write Armenian ligatures?"

    On 23/11/2007, John H. Jenkins <> wrote:
    > > The common wisdom about Latin ligatures seems to be to avoid the
    > > presentation forms, and to insert ZWJ between the two "normal"
    > > letters (or do nothing and expect the software to ligate
    > > automatically, which is much more problematic). I would be
    > > surprised if this were any different for Armenian.
    > Actually, the common wisdom about Latin ligatures is to avoid the
    > presentation forms and to use whatever ligature controls your rich-
    > text system provides. ZWJ is "designed for marking the unusual cases
    > where ligatures...are required. [It is] not to be used in all cases
    > where ligatures...are desired; instead, [it is] meant only for
    > overriding the normal behavior of text." (TUS p. 537)

    Sounds to me as if TUS and Doug are saying the same thing : you can
    use ZWJ to request ligation in situations where ligation would not
    normally occur; but you should not use ZWJ if the rendering system
    would be expected to make the ligature by default.

    E.g. for modern English, "st"and "ct" ligatures are not normally used,
    so by default most fonts won't make them for you. Furthermore, as TUS
    p.537 says, "the rendering system cannot define the locations where
    ligatures are possible, because there are many languages in which
    ligature formation requires more information. For example, in some
    languages, ligatures are never formed across syllable boundaries", so
    it may be necessary for the author of a plain text document to
    explicitly mark where the ligatures should be using ZWJ. Of course,
    this won't work with most fonts, but intelligent and forward-thinking
    fonts such as Code2000 do allow users this level of typographic
    control for Latin text.

    As none of the Armenian fonts on my system give ligatures by default,
    it would seem to me that ligature formation is not the default
    behaviour in Armenian, and therefore it would be right and proper to
    to use ZWJ to mark the unusual cases where ligatures are required, as
    per last paragraph of TUS p.537.


    P.S. I too am quite disconcerted by the number of FAQs that suddenly
    spring up whenever James puts forward a position that some UTC member
    or other disagrees with.

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