W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > December 2010

Re: [CSS3-text] text-underline-position and superscript

From: Ambrose LI <ambrose.li@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 21 Dec 2010 18:38:10 -0500
Message-ID: <AANLkTimXOHKwWfNHW60M8vzH95kaOSkH36K_m+Ojh6ez@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Belov, Charles" <Charles.Belov@sfmta.com>
Cc: www-style@w3.org
2010/12/21 Belov, Charles <Charles.Belov@sfmta.com>:
> It would seem that underlines used as proper punctuation marks would
> better be an underline character, rather than the underline of a
> space character.  Please forgive my ignorance of Chinese but
> I thought a character looking like two adjacent sides of a square
> was used to set off quotations in Chinese.  (I do sometimes need to
> post Chinese content, although it is rare for it to have a quotation.)

Two punctuation marks are affected, and the confusion is probably
caused by the fact that they don't act like English punctuation marks.
(These are probably closest to emphasis marks, which seem to be much
better understood, in terms of behaviour.) Perhaps some explanation
should be given here.

The first is what I call the proper name mark (專名號 in Chinese). This
looks exactly the same as an underline, and is used to mark personal
names, geographical names, and the like. (The proper name is
underlined, and in case two adjacent proper names appear, both are
underlined but the underlines are visually separate without affecting
the spacing between the Chinese characters.) In this regard it is like
capitalization in English. I would say it is still in active but not
common use, and it is still being taught in schools. If we don't use
it, we can either use quotation marks (which is very rare, since it
could be read as derogatory, just like English) or we can leave it out
(which is quite common).

The second is what I call the citation mark (書名號 in Chinese). This
looks like a wavy underline, and is used to mark titles of books,
literary works, and music, etc. (The title is wavy-underlined, and in
case two adjacent titles appear, both are wavy-underlined but the
underlines are, again, visually separate without affecting the spacing
between the Chinese characters.) So it serves the same purpose as
italicization in print and the CITE element in HTML. This is still in
common use, but because of deficiencies in various software,
full-width guillemets are normally used instead. Options for the wavy
underline are full-width guillemets or quotation marks (which AFAIK is
rare). For certain uses it can be omitted, but normally it is not.

There are a couple of problems with the default underline position
with respect to these two punctuation marks:

1. The underlines are often, if not always, too close to the baseline,
causing the underline to intersect with the Chinese characters. So
"pixel positioning" would be a good idea since it would be a way to
correct this typographical error.

2. If the proper name or title of literary work involves non-CJK
characters (such as one or more English letters), the underlining
would break into two or three parts. This is undesirable as it is
semantically wrong.

Quotation marks, as you point out, look like two parts of a square and
are separate characters. In horizontal writing, there is an option to
use English-style quotation marks, and such usage is mandatory for
simplified Chinese in horizontal writing mode.
-- 
cheers,
-ambrose

does anyone know how to fix Snow Leopard? it broke input method
switching and is causing many typing mistakes and is very annoying
Received on Tuesday, 21 December 2010 23:38:38 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 26 March 2013 17:20:35 GMT