Re: [unicode] Re: Canadian aboriginal syllabics in vertical writing mode

From: Bill Poser <>
Date: Wed, 2 May 2012 16:41:50 -0700

In the case of the Carrier syllabics, I have never seen an example of
vertical text so there is no native usage to go by. However, as others have
said, rotated text is very difficult to read because of the role of
orientation. It's true that the small characters provide evidence as to the
direction of writing, but it is still quite difficult to read rotated text.
Unrotated text, on the other hand, is easy enough to read but looks strange
because of the large amount of unused space in cells containing small

On Tue, May 1, 2012 at 2:07 PM, Asmus Freytag <> wrote:

> I don't understand what the ruckus is about.
> Looking at the samples, simple observation yields two points:
> a) the little superscript letters give an immediate and powerful "guide to
> the eye". There simply is no way you can be confused as to the writing
> direction of a text snippet (as apposed to isolated letters). Anybody who
> is fluent in this script will read "word shapes" as you would do in Latin,
> not "letters". There are apparently so many superscripts that they
> completely compensate for the issue of symmetric shapes for the base
> letters.
> b) The same superscripted letters would seem to make it exceedingly
> awkward to write texts in vertical mode with upright glyphs. They give all
> appearance of forming logical clusters or variable length. Those are better
> accommodated in vertical flow by rotating the line as a whole (hence
> rotating the glyphs).
> c) Even if the superscripts don't form graphical or clusters with adjacent
> characters, the fact is that they take so much less space. This makes it
> awkward in vertical "character at a time" mode, because many cells would be
> near-empty.
> The example of Latin was given, but I think it's misapplied. In most
> languages, Latin characters do not form strong clusters, and where they do,
> that might be limited to certain type styles. Dutch IJ is sometimes written
> as a "unit" in signage that uses upright glyphs for vertical text. Fraktur
> "ck" clusters strongly enough to not acquire intercharacter spacing in
> justification (I've not seen any vertical + upright samples of Fraktur).
> But these types of letter clusters are the exception. For the Syllabics,
> clustering seems to rather be the rule.
> Certainly, if you wanted to cite syllabics in vertically set East Asian
> text there would be no doubt that you'd want to rotate such text.
> A./
Received on Wed May 02 2012 - 18:46:42 CDT

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