Re: Hyphenation (was Re: A suggested tag)

David Perrell (
Sat, 19 Apr 1997 09:35:12 -0700

Message-Id: <>
From: "David Perrell" <>
To: "Jukka Korpela" <>, <>
Subject: Re: Hyphenation (was Re: A suggested tag)
Date: Sat, 19 Apr 1997 09:35:12 -0700

Jukka Korpela wrote:
> Which in turn is in definite contradiction with ISO 8859-1, as I
> explained in a previous message, referring to
> for detailed explanation.
> I'd say that ISO 8859 is _far_ more important to the Web than
> RFC 2070.

I agree. From your reference page:
The ISO 8859-1 standard defines, in section 6.3.3, both the graphic
presentation and the usage of soft hyphen, as follows:=20

  A graphic character that is imaged by a graphic symbol identical
  with, or similar to, that representing HYPHEN, for use when a line
  break has been established within a word.=20

The point is that a soft hyphen is a visible character that is inserted
_after_ a line break within a word has been established. Thus, in the
formatted text a word break hyphen can be distinguished from a hyphen
that separates a word pair, and the text can then be reformatted
without un=ADwanted hyphens appearing within a line. This would be a very
valuable distinction if supported by text processors.

Note that the character between "un" and "wanted" above is ISO #173,
not #45. But if your display supports ISO 8859 you'll see a hyphen.

I think it's a mistake to assign caveats to the display of a particular
character. If a character is in the stream it should be displayed
according to its metrics, period. Discretionary hyphenation belongs
either in the markup or as one of those non-displayed 'control
characters' between #127-#159. If in the markup and WBR doesn't
satisfy, I suggest DHY (discretionary hyphen) or OHY (optional hyphen).

David Perrell