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Re: [CSS3 Text] Tibetan justification

From: fantasai <fantasai.lists@inkedblade.net>
Date: Wed, 10 Jan 2007 00:15:16 +1300
Message-ID: <45A37944.8090108@inkedblade.net>
To: c.fynn@btopenworld.com
CC: www-style@w3.org, asmus@unicode.org, Mark Davis <mark.davis@us.ibm.com>, 'WWW International' <www-international@w3.org>

C J Fynn wrote:
> 
> Hi
> 
> The working draft of the CSS3 Text Module
> <http://fantasai.inkedblade.net/style/specs/css3-text/scratchpad> says:
> 
> "tibetan
>     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).

Thanks for pointing that out, I'd forgotten to include that exception.

> 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.

Ok. I've seen this in a good handful of newly-printed books as well as a
Tibetan newspaper in the National Library of China, so whether or not it's
the fault of a couple pendantic westerners, it is still in use. However,
you are not the only one who sent in a comment suggesting that the value
be dropped. After talking with Paul Nelson, we've decided to publish the
next official draft of CSS3 Text with the value defined, but note that it
will most likely be dropped in the next revision. If there are no objections
to that, we'll remove it.

> 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).

Yes, this is the justification I saw in the rest of the Tibetan books I found.
There was a slight bit of extra space after every tsek mark in a justified
line. However, as I noted in the word-spacing section
   http://fantasai.inkedblade.net/style/specs/css3-text/scratchpad#word-spacing
I'm not sure if that extra space should ideally be after the tsek mark or
distributed on both sides of it. If you've got some advice on that, too, I'd
appreciate it.

(The 'inter-word' keyword, as currently defined, would invoke this behavior.)

> [It should be noted that these tsek characters (U+0F0B) also provide the
> primarily line break opportunity in Tibetan and Dzongkha text.]

[Noted, although CSS3 Text doesn't cover line breaking rules; UAX14 does.]

Thank you for your comments.

~fantasai
Received on Tuesday, 9 January 2007 11:15:48 GMT

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