Re: Korean syllable decomposition(was: CJK combining components)

From: Jungshik Shin (
Date: Tue Oct 17 2000 - 19:35:41 EDT

On Tue, 17 Oct 2000 wrote:

> So, do they have a table that says "This hangul syllable
> is made up of components X, Y, and Z"?) Maybe Unicode
> should have one.

Well, Unicode will never have one for dynamic glyph composition of Hangul
syllables ;-) because there are so many possibilities (how many different
sets of glyphs to use for initial consonants, medial vowels and final
consonants. The higher quality you want to get, the more sets you need).
One example of such a table is, though, provided by Hanterm(Korean xterm)
source code (<>) which can make use of
both precomposed Hangul fonts (with only 2350 syllables for KS X 1001)
and fonts made up of Jamos ( 10 sets of initial consonants, 4? sets of
medial vowels and 4? sets of final consonants) for on-the-fly composition
of glyphs (for all 11,172 modern syllables and thousands of antique
syllables). Mozilla supports that and you may find it interestng to go
thru nsUnicodeToX11Johab.cpp (at, follow the link for the
source code and type in the file name). Unix/X11 JDK used to allow this
kind of on-the-fly composition by simply editing file
and providing a simple Java class to take care of dynamic composition,
but at least Linux port of JDK 1.2 stopped working that way.

> When you make a Korean font, you only need to make
> the components and have a program combine them for
> you, correct?

That's not that simple, unfortunately. In principle, that's possible,
but in reality it still needs a lot of manual intervention to get a high
quaility font. (I'm not familiar with the way foundries in Korea make
Hangul fonts) Anyway, if you look inside the some of truetype fonts with
Hangul syllables, you'll find a lot of components (Jamos) that I presume
make up syllables making use of facilities provided by truetype for
the 'dynamic' composition(??).

Jungshik Shin

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