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Re: [css3-text][css3-fonts] 'text-transform' for Accents

From: John Hudson <tiro@tiro.com>
Date: Fri, 18 Mar 2011 10:37:54 -0700
Message-ID: <4D839872.8070902@tiro.com>
To: Christoph Päper <christoph.paeper@crissov.de>
CC: www-style@w3.org
Christoph Päper wrote, re. accentless caps:

> That perhaps would be reasonable for the ‘inline’ (or ‘incorporated’) value I proposed, but not so much for the more important ‘accent-free-capitals’ (or ‘plain-caps’) value. I don’t know whether some font designers implement this and which Open Type feature they would (ab)use for doing it, opaque ‘salt’ or ‘ssXY’ probably and less likely ‘titl’.

First of all, I'll note that I'm not familiar with any orthography in 
which the presence of accent marks on uppercase letters is truly 
optional. There was a myth going about for some time that this was the 
case with French, but that was due to the mechanical limitations of the 
typewriter, and if one consulted quality French publishing, the 
recommendations of the Imprimerie nationale, or simply people's 
handwriting, the marks were always present on uppercase letters.

One place where marks are not optionally but conventionally removed is 
in Greek allcaps settings, i.e. the marks will be present when an 
uppercase letter is followed by lowercase letters, but will be stripped 
when all the letters are uppercase. This, however, is a tricky 
substitution, because while tone and breathing accent marks are removed, 
the dialytika (diaeresis) mark may actually be inserted in allcaps where 
it would not appear in lowercase. The situation here is a two-vowel 
sequence in which the accent mark occurs on the first vowel, indicating 
that the sequence is not a diphthong, άι vs αί; in allcaps, the same 
sequence will display with a dialytika on the second vowel: ΑΪ. This 
calls for some fancy OpenType GSUB contextual substitutions. Most often, 
this is implemented in the font <calt> layout feature, since there may 
be circumstances in which the user wants to override the contextual 
behaviour independent of other stylistic or casing variants.

Received on Friday, 18 March 2011 17:38:30 UTC

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