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

From: Peter Zilahy Ingerman, PhD <>
Date: Sun, 11 Sep 2011 16:07:16 -0400

An old acquaintance of mine, many years ago, pointed out two cases in
Dutch: a hunter of kiwi birds, kiwijager, cannot use the customary ij
ligature. And as for parsing ambiguities, he observed that there were
three different ways of understanding the word "kwartslagen", depending
on whether it was read "kwart-slagen", "kwarts-lagen", or "kwart-sla-gen".

Peter Ingerman

On 2011-09-11 00:42, Asmus Freytag wrote:
> 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 not).
> Certain layout processes, in certain cases, in certain languages,
> simply can't be fully automated.
> A./
>> Stephan
Received on Sun Sep 11 2011 - 15:10:07 CDT

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