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Re: [css3-fonts] ordinals

From: fantasai <fantasai.lists@inkedblade.net>
Date: Thu, 29 Aug 2013 17:16:33 -0700
Message-ID: <521FE461.10304@inkedblade.net>
To: www-style@w3.org
On 08/27/2013 10:27 PM, fantasai wrote:
> On 07/10/2013 01:18 AM, John Daggett wrote:
>>
>> fantasai wrote:
>>
>>> I guess I was a bit confused while reading the spec and thought they
>>> were a variant of number forms so I didn't comment, but why are
>>> ordinals under 'font-variant-numeric'? From my (new) understanding,
>>> they're not numbers.
>>
>> It's under 'font-variant-numeric' because it's associated with the
>> formatting of ordinal numbers, 1st, 2nd, 3rd.  The variant glyphs
>> substituted are the raised versions of 'st', 'nd' and 'rd'.
>
> Okay, but, they're still not actually numeric glyphs.

Also, just remembered -- in French ordinals are used for abbreviations
like Mme, which has nothing to do with numbers at all.

> An earlier version of your spec had them in the same property as
> superscripts and subscripts. That seems to make more sense to me.
>
>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ordinal_number_%28linguistics%29
>>
>> Note: ordinals are not superscripts even though they are often
>> confused with them.
>
> That would be more reason to put them in the same setting as
> superscripts, so that people notice they're two similar but
> different things!

Summary of arguments in favor of font-variant-numeric:
   * Unlike superscripts/subscripts, doesn't represent semantic meaning
     or have synthetic fallback, so avoid font-variant-position.
   * (In English) associated mainly with abbreviated forms of
     ordinal numbers, so font-variant-numeric makes sense.

Summary of arguments in favor of font-variant-position:
   * Like superscripts/subscripts, is a size/position transformation.
   * Unlike other font-variant-numeric values, isn't actually applied
     to digits, but to letters.
   * Putting 'ordinal' and 'superscript' together in one property
     helps authors notice that they are two different things,
     since they are often confused with each other.
   * Might not even be limited to numeric use cases, in which case
     putting in font-variant-numeric is inappropriate.

~fantasai

P.S. Tangent comments: Wikipedia has this nice image:
   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sub_super_num_dem.svg

   * It looks like we've covered 3/4 of the possibilities. Is there
     an OpenType feature for the last one, too?

   * Are there consistent names for the different positions?
     If ordn isn't actually used only for ordinal numbers, maybe
     we should adopt a different name, even though it doesn't match
     as well to the OpenType tag?
Received on Friday, 30 August 2013 00:17:01 UTC

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