Re: missing characters: combining marks above runs of more than 2 base letters

From: Philippe Verdy <>
Date: Mon, 21 Nov 2011 06:32:16 +0100

2011/11/20 Asmus Freytag <>:
> On 11/20/2011 8:00 AM, Jo dm wrote:
> Leaving aside that CSS is presentation and not content, and is
> definitely not markup. HTML is a better candidate.
> The details of the appearance of the mark would be presentation.
> The scoping, like for applying every other style feature, would have to be
> supplied via HTML, XML you name it.
> I can see where you'd want something other than a generic "span" to provide
> that scoping.

I completely disagree that these are presentation details in the
example I supplied.

This (composition of verses) is an essential part of the classical
Latin poem presented, which is really intended to be read orally with
a very precise metric. Otherwise you won't even note that it is
versified because you'll pronounce too many letters.

And the notation is not interchangeable as a matter of preference
here. The arcs must remain arcs, and in the same color and stroke
weight as the rest of the text.

But anyway, neither HTML, not XML, nor CSS support these notations.
Unicode allowed more by encoding symbols at least for mathematics,
cantillation in Hebrew, and even the optional vowel points in Arabic
and Hebrew that also convey a second reading, plus other contextual
format controls in Arabic, Syriac... Plus a lot of optional combining
marks for marking additional tones or stress, plus interlinear
annotation controls. Plus lots of punctuation signs and symbols used
for suprasegmental notations.

How can you accept to encode very recent modern emoticons, and not
refuse to support these common signs that have been used since many
centuries and are still used heavily today ? What is the problem with
these signs ? Couldn't they be format controls as well, lust like
Arabic number format controls ?

And now consider the case of Roman numbers, there are also symbols
(long macrons, or rectangular arches) that span multiple digits (and
that can be embedded at multiple levels) to denote a multiplication.
Do you think they are presentation only ? They are clearly semantic,
otherwise the numeric value is completely lost.

Same thing about hieroglyphs, that make absolutely no sense without an
indication of how clusters are structured.

CSS has NEVER been designed to convey any text semantic. All text
search algorithms ignore these styles that are also fully replacable
by readers' choice or automatically by accessiibility tools. CSS
however pay be used to style a voice or accent or speed of speech in
an aural renderer, if it helps better understanding it or also for
accesibility reasons (ear deficience caused by age can impact the
understanding of high tones, fast speech may be difficult for people
less trained to some subjects or to a secondary language)

This is because the reading is mandated by the text, that Arabic and
Hebrew have added vowel points and cantillation marks to avoid all
confusions of meaning in their text.

But here, if you use mathematics notation, the whole text will loose
its meaning: not only you won't understand it if those maths symbols
are not rendered, but you will not able to read with the intended
metrics which also carries the contextual letters not pronounced. The
text ill be readable by nobody.

-- Philippe.
Received on Sun Nov 20 2011 - 23:39:24 CST

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