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[CSS3 Text] Tibetan justification

From: C J Fynn <c.fynn@btopenworld.com>
Date: Mon, 09 Oct 2006 16:41:56 +0000
Message-ID: <4529E6C5.2060601@btopenworld.com>
To: www-style@w3.org
CC: asmus@unicode.org, Mark Davis <mark.davis@us.ibm.com>, fantasai@inkblade.net


The working draft of the CSS3 Text Module
<http://fantasai.inkedblade.net/style/specs/css3-text/scratchpad> says:

     Justification primarily stretches spaces after shad if the line 
contains any and/or pads the end of the line with tsek marks if the line 
already ends in one."

1. "spaces after shad" needs to include spaces following the letters KA 
U+0F40 and GA U+0F42 (with or without combining vowels) since the shad 
is not written after these two characters (due to the long descenders on 
the right side of their glyphs).

2. Traditionally manuscript and xylograph printed Tibetan texts were 
"justified" by padding lines with multiple tsek (U+0F0B) marks. This was 
necessary as calculating the amount of extra space needed for padding 
lines was impractical when writing text by hand or carving woodblocks.

Today this practice is insisted on by one or two pedantic westerners who 
have seen it in old texts and think therefore it should be maintained.

However in my experience native Tibetan and Bhutanese users invariably 
prefer normally justified text when setting Tibetan on computers. Since 
space characters are infrequent in Tibetan (and sometimes do not occur 
even in a long line of text) this is best achieved by both stretching 
spaces and by slightly increasing the width of the glyph for tsek 
characters (which follow every syllable). [It should be noted that these 
tsek characters (U+0F0B) also provide the primarily line break 
opportunity in Tibetan and Dzongkha text.] Padding lines with extra tsek 
characters is then totally unnecessary except where one is trying to 
imitate the appearance of old manuscripts or woodblock prints.



Christopher Fynn
Dzongkha Linux project
Department of Information Technology
Thimphu, Bhutan
Received on Tuesday, 10 October 2006 04:30:40 UTC

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