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Re: [css3-fonts] ordinals

From: John Hudson <tiro@tiro.com>
Date: Wed, 10 Jul 2013 11:18:22 -0700
Message-ID: <51DDA56E.40807@tiro.com>
CC: www-style@w3.org
On 10/07/13 1:18 AM, John Daggett wrote:

> Note: ordinals are not superscripts even though they are often
> confused with them.

More precisely, an ordinal is a text unit consisting of a number 
followed by an alphabetic sequence, whose purpose is usually to 
adjectivise the number. Looked at another way, an ordinal is an 
abbreviated form of writing the adjectival form, e.g. 6th instead of 
sixth. In terms of display, there are three common conventions for 
ordinals: 1) using normal alphabetic glyphs, 2) using superscript 
alphabetic glyphs, 3) using underlined superscript alphabetic glyphs. 
The latter conventions is both locale and type design specific, so some 
fonts will provide for Iberian and Italian ordinals, e.g. 2ª and 8º, 
with underlined superscripts and others with plain superscripts.

The OpenType Layout <ordn> features provide for mapping from regular 
lowercase letters to ordinal indicator letters, which may be identical 
to regular superscript letters, or might be underlined superscript 
variants. In practice, there is a fair amount of variety in how 
different font makers approach this feature, so results of applying 
<ordn> will vary. Some font makers map only the Iberian underlined {a} 
and {o} in the <ordn> feature, recommending to users to apply the <sups> 
feature if they want to use plain superscripts in ordinals.

JH
Received on Wednesday, 10 July 2013 18:19:00 UTC

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