Re: ligature usage - WAS: How do we find out what assigned code points aren't normally used in text?

From: Asmus Freytag <>
Date: Sat, 10 Sep 2011 21:42:32 -0700

On 9/9/2011 8:12 PM, Stephan Stiller wrote:
> Dear Martin,
> Thanks for alerting me to the issue of causal direction of aesthetic
> preference - it's been on my mind, but your reply helps me sort out
> some details.
> When I first encountered text (outside of the German language locale)
> with ample use of ligatures in modern printed text, I definitely found
> the ligatures a bit distracting, but partly just because I wasn't used
> to them. I also perceived them as a solution to what (in Germany)
> appeared to me to be a real non-issue.
> Put simply, there is a conflict between full flexibility for font
> designs and the burden imposed by sophisticated ligatures and kerning
> tables.
> From my background I never perceived a need, but I guess I (and most
> people??) wouldn't really mind the tradition coming back (in Germany)
> if things are designed well (which is the job of the font designer)
> and for the user everything is handled automatically in the background
> by the available technology ...

Which cannot happen for German, as it is one of the languages where the
same letter pair may or may not have a ligature based on the *meaning*
of the word - something that you can't automate.

We had famous discussions on this list on this subject. Take an "st"
ligature. There are two meanings for the German word "Wachstube", only
one allows the st ligature. A human would have to decide when the
ligature is appropriate. (Incidentally, the same goes for hyphenation
for this word, one meaning allows a hyphen after the "s" the other does

Certain layout processes, in certain cases, in certain languages, simply
can't be fully automated.

> Stephan
Received on Sun Sep 11 2011 - 14:28:03 CDT

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