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Re: [css-text] Preventing typographic orphans

From: Tony Graham <tgraham@antenna.co.jp>
Date: Fri, 16 Jan 2015 16:07:06 +0000
Message-ID: <54B9372A.6060706@antenna.co.jp>
To: www-style@w3.org
On 07/01/2015 17:42, Lea Verou wrote:
> On Jan 7, 2015, at 19:37, Glenn Adams <glenn@skynav.com> wrote:
>> interesting that they call them 'widow' words, not orphan words,
>> which shows that this terminology (either orphan or widow) is
>> probably not good in this case; if i had to choose,i would have
>> also called them widows, not orphans, based on the principle "an
>> orphan is left behind, a widow goes on on alone".

Since CSS and XSL have 'widows' for the minimum lines at the top of a
page, it is arguably more consistent to use 'widows' for describing the
minimum words left at the top of the page.

> Yup, I noticed that too (though keep in mind that Antennahouse is
> almost 100% non-native English speakers, and that is reflected in
> the naming of several AH proprietary properties, as well as the rest
> of the documentation). Perhaps a name like min-last-line-length or
> min-last-line-words would be as explicit as possible, but a bit too
> verbose.

'widow' and 'orphan' are two terms where people have chosen to
disagree a long time ago:

  - "The Elements of Typographic Style" has "Isolated lines created when
paragraphs _begin_ on the _last_ line of a page are known as
_orphans_... The stub-ends left when paragraphs _end_ on the _first_
line of a page are called _widows_."

  - "Book Typography" by Mitchell and Wrightman has "orphan ... the last
line of a paragraph falling at the top of a page" and "widow ... first
line of a paragraph falling on the last line of a page".

  - "A Type Primer" by John Kane has "A widow is a short line of type
left alone at the end of a column of text.  An orphan is a short line of
type left alone at the start of a new column." and includes a graphic
that shows a one-word line in the middle of a column as being a


Tony Graham.
Senior Architect
XML Division
Antenna House, Inc.
Skerries, Ireland
Received on Friday, 16 January 2015 16:07:39 UTC

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