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Re: [css3-text] script categories, 'bicameral', 'discrete', Unicode links and more

From: John Hudson <tiro@tiro.com>
Date: Fri, 15 Apr 2011 22:57:13 -0700
Message-ID: <4DA92FB9.8060801@tiro.com>
To: Asmus Freytag <asmusf@ix.netcom.com>
CC: Leif Halvard Silli <xn--mlform-iua@xn--mlform-iua.no>, 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
Asmus wrote:

> 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...

Yes, I understand this to be fairly well established by type historians. 
After italics developed their articulatory rôle in 'antiqua' typography, 
fraktur typographers sought a means to express the same kind of 
articulations in fraktur text; since they lacked secondary styles, they 
settled on letterspacing.

There's a nice typographical pun in one of Søren Kierkegaard's books, in 
which he describes a state of existential anxiety as a feeling of being 
l e t t e r s p a c e d, which captures the feeling of fragmentation of 
the self. Of course, the early Danish editions of Kierkegaard were set 
in fraktur type, so the metaphor worked visually because letterspacing 
was the method used for emphasis. In a later edition, set in antiqua 
type, the typography was changed so emphasis was indicated with italics; 
bizarrely, the editors took it upon themselves to change Kierkegaard's 
text to liken existential anxiety to being italicised.

> 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).

Yes. In Uighur words can be broken at linebreaks with a baseline 
hyphen*, but the preceding letter and the first letter on the next line 
are shaped as if they were still connected. Tricky stuff.

* The Uighur hyphen mark seems to be a recent phenomenon, probably no 
earlier than the 1990s; prior to this, words were broken without a mark:

	No particular symbol is used to indicate end-of-line
	divisions in the kona yeziq. Where applicable, the
	last letter before a division appears in its initial
	or medial form, and the first letter after a division
	appears in its medial or final form. In other words,
	they appear as though they were still connected,
	despite being on two different lines.
	[Hahn, Reinhard F. _Spoken Uyghur._ 1991]

Since not all Uighur letters have a left-side connection, one can see 
how the hyphen sign would be a useful adjunct to the linebreak system, 
since it avoids possible ambiguity about whether one is looking at a 
broken word or two separate words.

JH
Received on Saturday, 16 April 2011 05:57:56 GMT

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