Re: How to write Armenian ligatures?

From: John Hudson (
Date: Fri Nov 23 2007 - 19:11:17 CST

  • Next message: David Starner: "Re: How to write Armenian ligatures?"

    James Kass wrote:

    > Hmmm. The normal behavior of Latin text is that ligatures won't be
    > formed in plain text applications. The same is probably true for
    > Armenian. That leaves only ZWJs, presentation forms, or discarding
    > ligature information from plain text altogether.

    > Since other complex scripts such as Devanagari (etc.) allow the user
    > to specify ligature formation in plain text, I'm a proponent of
    > retaining those same options for Latin script plain text users.

    It is more accurate to say that in Devanagari etc. the user can selectively *prevent*
    ligature formation, e.g. by forcing half forms in preference to conjunct ligatures. The
    ligature formation is the default behaviour, the control characters are used to force a
    variant behaviour.

    As of recent versions of Notepad, the default plain text editor in Windows, the same is
    true of the Latin script: OTL <rlig> and <liga> lookups are processed automatically
    (<dlig> of course, are not, because the feature is off by default). If one wants to
    inhibit ligation, one can insert ZWNJ.

    This is how it should be, and other plain text editors should do likewise. Some people
    might argue that a ligature is somehow not plain text, but as far as I am concerned plain
    text is an abstract term: as soon as you display text in any way, in any font, it has
    ceased to be plain text and has become typography, however crude. I believe that the
    default display of plain text should be the default behaviour provided by the individual
    font *including any layout features that are recommended to be active by default*. This is
    what we expect of complex scripts, despite the fact that some shaping may be considered
    optional just as Latin ligatures are considered optional (by some people, in some typeface
    designs). If you want a display of plain text to not include ligatures, use an appropriate
    font, e.g. a monospace type designed for use in programming.

    John Hudson

    Tiro Typeworks
    Gulf Islands, BC
    I'm like that Umberto Eco guy, but without
    the writing.   -- anonymous caller

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