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Re: Examples of double-sided ruby (was RE: Feedback for rb from html5j.org (was RE: HTML5 and ruby

From: MURATA Makoto <eb2m-mrt@asahi-net.or.jp>
Date: Thu, 16 Feb 2012 13:13:02 +0900
Message-ID: <CALvn5EAEPqccrEqFsK7bJOLJ2czNRQJ7tmvJ7nVGFDXGoRrq-w@mail.gmail.com>
To: "public-i18n-cjk@w3.org" <public-i18n-cjk@w3.org>
A notable example of ruby (including double-side ruby) is
"Anthology for boys and girls: the twenty-first century edition" from
Kodan-sha, a well-known publisher in Japan.  This anthology includes
sixty-nine books, covering Japanese modern and old literature as well
as world-wide literature.  It is a successor of "Anthology for boys
and girls" published in the twentieth century from the same publisher.

Amazon provides a special page for this anthology.  It contains
some image files demonstrating the use of ruby.


Ruby in this anthology is more than just pronunciation information.
It explains what is difficult for boys and girls today.  For example,
北の政所 has ruby text 摂政、関白の妻の敬称 (wives of regents) to the
right of the base, and there is a bar between this base and ruby
text.  Meanwhile, 北 has きた and 政所 has まんどころ as ruby to the
left of these characters respectively.  In this case, pronunciation
ruby appears to the left and explanatory ruby appears to the right,
but this is not always true.  The decision appears to be based on
how much space is used by other ruby for adjacent lines.  In this
anghology, ruby for ruby appears quite often, since difficult words
appear in explanatory ruby.

My initial reaction to this extensive use of ruby was not too
positive, but I have completely changed my mind.  Ruby in this
anthology is absolutely superb.  Readers (children in particular) do
not have to be bothered by end notes, which are separated from the
main text, but can immediately find out explanatory ruby.  If ruby is
removed from this anthology, I think that 50% of the values of this
anthology would be lost.

I guess that authors, editors, and DTP operators have spent enormous
time for this anthology.  Their motivation is probably to help
Japanese boys and girls today, who are not always familiar with
literature.  I would like to provide books in this anthology to my
sons again again and again, and I intend to read some by myself.


P.S.  Although I highly praise ruby in this anthology, I am not saying
that HTML ruby should faithfully capture this anthology or it should
cover double-side ruby.  I rather plan to argue otherwise.
Received on Thursday, 16 February 2012 04:13:34 UTC

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