Re: ct, fj and blackletter ligatures

From: John Hudson (
Date: Sat Nov 02 2002 - 13:41:47 EST

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    At 09:22 11/2/2002, Thomas Lotze wrote:

    >In the meantime, I found out about ZWJ (this one could be mentioned in
    >the FAQ, BTW). Now I agree that it is preferable not to use ligature
    >code points in documents. However, this isn't a matter of principle, it
    >just avoids having to resolve ligatures into their constituents when,
    >eg, searching documents, and requires instead ignoring the ZWJ, which is
    >easier to do.

    It should be noted that using ZWJ is a valid way to encode the desirability
    of a ligature in plain text, but it is far from being a guarantee of
    displaying such a ligature. There are a lot of fonts out there with glyph
    substitution lookups that will correctly display something like a ct
    ligature using layout features (discretionary, controlled by the user) in
    OT savvy apps like Adobe InDesign, but will do so only for the sequence
    c+t. Ironically, the sequence c+ZWJ+t is more likely *not* to display as a
    ligature, since the ZWJ interferes with the sequence recognised by the font

    I think some font developers will begin including additional ligature
    lookups using ZWJ, but I suspect that the majority will not. Most font
    developers are focused on markets in which users do not encode ligature
    preferences in plain text, and in which the use or non-use of ligatures is
    a typographical decision independent of the authorship of a document. Most
    font developers have never heard of ZWJ. Nor, come to think of it, have
    most users.

    John Hudson

    Tiro Typeworks
    Vancouver, BC

    It is necessary that by all means and cunning,
    the cursed owners of books should be persuaded
    to make them available to us, either by argument
    or by force. - Michael Apostolis, 1467

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