Re: How to write Armenian ligatures?

From: Asmus Freytag (
Date: Sun Nov 25 2007 - 16:38:11 CST

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    On 11/24/2007 3:50 PM, Elliotte Harold wrote:
    > James Kass wrote:
    >> People generate PDFs from plain text and also from HTML. If I were
    >> using HTML for the purpose of reproducing a page from a two hundred
    >> year old book, I would want to preserve the ligature information. As
    >> something of a purist, I would want my reproduction to have ligatures
    >> where the original had ligatures, and not have ligatures where the
    >> original hadn't any.
    > If you require that level of typographic fidelity, you wouldn't be
    > using HTML. Ligatures would be the least of your worries in that
    > scenario.
    If that book was a 200-year old German book, you may very well want to
    capture it in the Fraktur style it was published in. In that case, you
    can't get around ligatures (both mandatory and prohibited), even if your
    intent is not to capture the *actual* ligatures used by the particular
    typesetter -- it's simply that the style as such requires some ligatures
    and usually uses a large number of others. I believe that some of the
    latter could be (and were) used, or not used, to allow better line
    justification (but I don't have ready evidence available for that one
    way or the other).

    Books from that period would alternate between Fraktur (bulk of the
    text) and Antiqua/Roman style (lain or foreign words) in a way that in
    some way reflected the choices of the author (just like details of
    spelling or punctuation). Rendering such works in modern style
    essentially discards such information.

    Therefore, even if you are only interested in getting at the *text* so
    to speak, you end up having to have support for ligatures (and control
    over them, because of the twin issues of required and prohibited
    ligatures). That level support is in principle possible with standard
    rendering layers, given that you have an OpenType font with the correct
    ligature tables. and that your text uses ZWNJ for the prohibited
    ligatures. So that's all very much plain text and HTML.

    If you want to go further and actually create a faithful record of the
    *typography* of such texts, your requirements would go beyond what you
    can do with OpenType and ZWNJ, you would need actual markup.


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