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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 21:24:41 -0700
Message-ID: <4DA91A09.9040505@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
Leif,

if Iyou had to determine why letterspacing as  e m p h a s i s  was ever 
invented, then the absence of italic in Fraktur definitely seem to have 
been a motivation (I'm not going to track this down right now, however I 
seem to recall use of headers with darker type color, presumably because 
they were in a bold font, so while I'm sure that italics were missing, 
I'm not sure about bold).

In German, this use of letterspacing as emphasis definitely carried over 
into typewritten text, and, at least in some demographics, is alive and 
well in the internet age (I keep seeing it in sans-serif text, with 
italics/bold readily available in the UI, yet they use letterspacing).

Another reason that Fraktur could use letterspacing for emphasis is 
because it's such a narrow type style. It makes typefitting in narrow 
columns rather easy (if you use hyphenation - German with its compound 
nouns really requires hyphenation, there's no way you can adjust lines 
well without it, so there's not that resistance to it that I see at 
times in English).

As a result, you have readers who never (=hardly ever) see letter 
spacing used in justification, yet are familiar with it for emphasis. 
If, in modern, "roman" text, you suddenly were to enable letter-spacing 
for very narrow columns, the resulting, very noticable variation in 
letterspacing would be interpreted as "ransom note".

What I'm driving at with this example is that the acceptability of 
certain styles of layout (hyphenation, letterspacing for justification, 
letterspacing for emphasis) are definitely not associated with the 
script (and not associated, as someone helpfully suggested, with the 
element) but with local conventions (language and or region).

Short of an effort like CLDR you can't possibly hope to collect all 
possible information on permissible usage of these layout styles. 
However, you can make sure that whatever document you create does not 
suggest that there's a simple classification of scripts (or typestyles) 
that will somehow contain the right answers.

A./

PS: on hyphenation the Unicode forum (http://unicode.org/forum) just 
recently gave an exception to the dictum "Arabic is never hyphenated" 
(turns out to be false on the script level, but true on the language 
level. Uighur, written in Arabic script, can apparently be hyphenated).

PPS: incidentally, as an aside, Fraktur used a distinction that's hard 
to map to modern usage: certain foreign/Latin words were set in Antiqua 
by convention. This is similar, but not equivalent, to the modern 
English practice of using italics for some foreign/Latin words. (The set 
of words so treated was different than modern usage, hence it couldn't 
be mapped on the rendering level.)
Received on Saturday, 16 April 2011 04:34:08 GMT

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