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Re: East Asian Emphasis Marks (Japanese bouten, etc)

From: Martin Duerst <duerst@it.aoyama.ac.jp>
Date: Mon, 13 Mar 2006 10:42:47 +0900
Message-Id: <6.0.0.20.2.20060313101928.06c909d0@localhost>
To: fantasai <fantasai.lists@inkedblade.net>, Unicode Mailing List <unicode@unicode.org>, "'WWW International'" <www-international@w3.org>

At 07:50 06/03/13, fantasai wrote:
 >
 >I'm currently going through emphasis marks used in East Asian texts
 >to see what options we need to define in CSS. One of the questions I
 >have is, where do the glyphs come from? Kobayashi Tatsuo and I looked
 >through the Unicode repetoire last week, and we found
 >   U+FE45 SESAME DOT
 >   U+FE46 WHITE SESAME DOT
 >which covers only two of the shapes. Also, they are in the compatibility
 >forms block, so their use is discouraged.
 >
 >Paul Nelson says Microsoft uses fixed shapes for these emphasis marks.
 >
 >In the case of the sesame at least, the shape in printed materials closely
 >parallels U+3001 IDEOGRAPHIC COMMA, which is provided by the font.

Yes, it indeed very much looks that way. Your examples show dots
(above) in horizontal text, and commas (or comma-like shapes) (on the
right) in vertical text, and some text in the scans actually say
that this is current practice.

 >I would like to know, is there a way, should there be a way, for the font
 >in use to have some say over the glyph shape for emphasis marks?

 From a purely aesthetic point of view, I'd guess yes. For a very
light font, smaller dots/commas may be more appropriate. For a very
heavy font, bigger dots/commas may be more appropriate. There may also
be issues with how far a way from the main line the marks go; for
different fonts, the optically best distance may be different.

But from a practical viewpoint, it is very well possible that such
adjustments are not done.

I suggest you look at some fonts, or contact some font providers
(e.g. Adobe and others).

Being able to specify a specific character as an emphasis mark
sounds attractive, but it would bring up the need to specify
several other parameters, such as scaling and offsets.

Regards,    Martin.

 >As for other shapes, I have scanned in a few examples:
 >   http://fantasai.inkedblade.net/style/discuss/emphasis-marks/
 >I also remember a Tibetan book using x-shaped marks.
 >
 >Any comments on shapes, usage patterns, usefulness of various settings,
 >etc. would be much appreciated.
 >
 >~fantasai
 > 
Received on Monday, 13 March 2006 06:16:34 GMT

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