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Re: [css3-text] script categories, 'bicameral', 'discrete', Unicode links and more

From: Asmus Freytag <asmusf@ix.netcom.com>
Date: Fri, 15 Apr 2011 14:39:42 -0700
Message-ID: <4DA8BB1E.7070407@ix.netcom.com>
To: Leif Halvard Silli <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no>
CC: John Hudson <tiro@tiro.com>, fantasai <fantasai.lists@inkedblade.net>, John Cowan <cowan@mercury.ccil.org>, 'WWW International' <www-international@w3.org>, public-i18n-core@w3.org, indic <public-i18n-indic@w3.org>, CJK discussion <public-i18n-cjk@w3.org>, www-style@w3.org
On 4/15/2011 2:01 PM, Leif Halvard Silli wrote:
> My assumption is that CSS3-text speaks about modern/current script
> usage.

Language dependency is not limited to historic examples, the different 
expectation that readers have wrt to letterspacing are still very much 
current (that's why you'll regularly find manual mock-ups of 
letterspacing in internet posts by German users, but not by Americans).

Fraktur (recent history) just happens to provide some very nice 
additional examples of the kinds of differences that you can encounter 
once you let yourself be aware of regional or type-style differences, 
and I happen to know about some of them.

You don't have to go back 2000 years.

My point is intended to merely emphasize fantasai's lament: not only is 
it difficult to get information on generic usage of a given script, once 
you go into regional variations in usage, the task becomes that much harder.

However, as soon as you deploy a CSS based solution into that regions, 
readers will expect it to conform to their usage, variant or not. They 
won't care whether you correctly describe other usage conventions (even 
if, on a world-wide scale, they might be considered "majority" usage).

That's the cautionary tale.

A./
> If we include history when we evaluate scripts, then it is even
> questionable whether Latin and Greek are bicameral scripts since there
> are no "bicameralism" in e.g. the Greek sources for the Bible.
>
> Leif Halvard Silli
>
> Asmus Freytag, Fri, 15 Apr 2011 13:51:12 -0700:
>> Thanks, John, for giving some more detail here. Altogether, it
>> confirms my unease with simple "script level" classifications in a
>> document that necessarily has to be brief.
>>
>> If generic observations about script behavior are seen as useful,
>> then they should really be proposed to be added to the Unicode Script
>> descriptions.
>>
>> A./
>>
>> On 4/15/2011 12:38 PM, John Hudson wrote:
>>> Asmus wrote:
>>>
>>>> In English you may find narrow columns that are typeset with
>>>> letterspacing to make them justified. If you do the same in German,
>>>> many readers will mistake this for an attempt at  e m p h a s i s.
>>>> (It used to be more common, especially so during the age of
>>>> Fraktur, but it's widespread enough that some people use it
>>>> manually, like I did here, in internet postings).
>>>> Whether letter-spacing is "allowed" for justification depends thus
>>>> not only on the script, but on (local) conventions. In the example
>>>> I gave, letter-spacing is allowed for emphasis, but not for
>>>> justification (the latter, if you attempted it, would look like a
>>>> ransom note to readers who are used to interpret letterspacing as
>>>> emphasis).
>>> ...
>>>
>>>> In typesetting German in Fraktur there are a number of required
>>>> ligatures. These are not broken apart when letterspacing is applied
>>>> (for emphasis).
>>> Yes, there is a hierarchy of typographic behaviours that is
>>> expressible as either
>>>
>>>      Script ->  Language ->  Style
>>>
>>> or as
>>>
>>>      Script ->  Style ->  Language
>>>
>>> which is to say that sometimes the language (perhaps better thought
>>> of as local conventional) behaviour is a variation of the typical
>>> script-level behaviour and sometimes it is a variation within a
>>> particular style that is itself a variation of the script-level
>>> behaviour. In functional terms, sometimes you want to define
>>> language level behaviour in contrast to script level behaviour,
>>> while at other times one wants to insert the style behaviour between
>>> the script and the language levels.
>>>
>>> [At the font level, OpenType enforces a script-language-lookup
>>> hierarchy, which means that style behaviour, insofar as it is
>>> possible to define this with regard to GSUB and GPOS layout, is
>>> implemented at the lookup level. This works, but isn't always as
>>> efficient as it would be if there were the option to define a style
>>> level between script and language. It is possible, within this
>>> system, to inhibit letter spacing by using the<curs>  Cursive
>>> Attachment GPOS lookup type, which locks glyphs together in
>>> particular x,y relationships; however, the majority of Latin script
>>> cursive style fonts do not implement this because they do not employ
>>> any y-direction position adjustments, and hence do not strictly need
>>> <curs>  attachment for most layout needs.]
>>>
>>> JH
>>>
>>>
Received on Friday, 15 April 2011 21:47:42 GMT

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