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RE: [css21] 5.12.2 The :first-letter pseudo-element (the Dutch "ij")

From: DaniŽl Pelsmaeker <daniel.pelsmaeker@zonnet.nl>
Date: Sun, 12 Sep 2004 01:14:27 +0200
Message-ID: <20040911231447.5297.qmail@postbode01.zonnet.nl>
To: "'Jukka K. Korpela'" <jkorpela@cs.tut.fi>
Cc: <www-style@w3.org>

> On Sun, 12 Sep 2004, Jukka K. Korpela wrote: 
> 
> > # Some languages may have specific rules about how to treat certain
> > # letter combinations. In Dutch, for example, if the letter combination
> > # "ij" appears at the beginning of a word, both letters should be
> > # considered within the :first-letter pseudo-element.
> 
> Even if U+0132 and U+0133 were preferred over IJ and ij - they aren't - it
> would still be the case that Dutch texts contain IJ and ij quite often.
> (As an intelligent guess, I would say _far_ more often than U+0132 and
> U+0133.)
> 
> > I was wondering if this note is still needed, since "certain letter
> > combinations" apparently have Unicode equivalents. (At least, the "Dutch
> > ij" has.)
> 
> The note should probably be turned into a realistic warning: the
> :first-letter pseudo-element is defined in a simple way (or, if the
> current wordings are kept: is not strictly defined), and authors should
> note that it does not capture the orthographic and stylistic conventions
> of several languages, where two consecutive characters (e.g., IJ in Dutch)
> might be treated as a single letter.
> 
> --
> Jukka "Yucca" Korpela, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/

In Dutch IJ isn't read or treated in any way as a single letter. At the
beginning of a sentence, the 'ij' is written as IJ only because it shows
nicer:

Consider the following sentences:
Ijsjes zijn lekker.
IJsjes zijn lekker.
The latter just looks nicer, but I think this applies to any language
written with Latin characters, and not only to the Dutch language.

If there are many more languages which may have multiple characters at the
beginning of a text block which should be captured by :first-letter, then it
might be nice to have one simple rule for the number of characters selected
by :first-letter. Something like this perhaps:
first-letter-length: 2;

A webpage author might want to use this rule in the style-attribute of the
containing element, instead of creating a special SPAN element just for the
layout of those two characters (and the problem of the parent element's
layout of the first character on top of the SPAN's layout).

- DaniŽl
Received on Saturday, 11 September 2004 23:19:02 GMT

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