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

From: Stephan Stiller <>
Date: Mon, 12 Sep 2011 14:31:14 -0700

> Even if Dorfladen is not ambigous, it could be disturbing (and at
> first reading be understood as some obscure compound of -fladen.

Yep - I agree with your perception. But the point was not {that use of
ligatures vs not using them is for disambiguation} but instead {that
only ambiguous compounding needs human intervention, whereas other
compounding can (always?) be dealt with by the computer if a list of
words to build them out of is available}. Any list containing "Dorf" and
"Laden" can easily be used to avoid ligating these components. Perhaps
this is what was meant, but I'm clarifying just in case.

> Once I read a text, it used ligature (inappropriately) in the word
> Auflage 'obligation', which is compounded from the prefix auf- 'upon'
> -lage , a nominal derivative of 'to lay'. Anyway, it's one word with
> its own meaning.
> Because of that stupid ligature I read it twice as [ofla:ʒ], thinking
> it would be a yet-unknown French loanword, before finally realising it
> was simply Auflage.

You have a good eye, and I've had similar experiences. Interestingly
your observation can be used as evidence that even well-lexicalized
word[ usage]s can benefit from not being ligated at certain morpheme
boundaries. Thankfully, lists are sufficient to address cases like
"Auflage" as well. I'm saying it this way because I simply don't know
whether there would be a similar effect if German didn't have French

So we could be getting into the realm of AI-hard aesthetic judgments:
Some cases that "should" ("Stickstoffflasche") don't actually depend on
ligation, whereas others matter for other psycholinguistic reasons.
Ideally publishers caring enough about ligatures have
copyeditors/proofreaders paying attention to this.

Received on Mon Sep 12 2011 - 16:35:16 CDT

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