From: Marco Cimarosti (email@example.com)
Date: Mon Nov 11 2002 - 06:42:15 EST
Michael Everson wrote:
> I like to think of the long s as similar to the final sigma. Nobody
> thinks that final sigma should be a presentation form of sigma.
Never say "nobody": I *do* think that Greek final sigma, final Hebrew
letters, and Latin long s should all be presentation forms. I think that
they are encoded as separate characters only because of compatibility with
pre-existing standards such as ISO 8859.
Occasional exceptions to the general distributional rules of these
presentation forms would not have been a valid reason to encode them as
separate characters. Similar exceptions also occur in Indic and Arabic
scripts (e.g., the Arabic abbreviation for "plural" is a "jiim" in initial
form). These case can be supported in plain-text using ZWJ and ZWNJ:
"Wachstube" = German for "guard room";
"Wachs<ZWNJ>tube = German for "wax tube".
<jiim><ZWJ> = Arabic for "plural";
> Nobody really uses long s in modern Roman typography, and it's a lot
> more convenient to have this as a separate character for the
> nonce-uses that it has than to expect font designers round the world
> to add special shaping tables to all their fonts just for this
Why "all their fonts"? Only a few fonts designed for special purposes need
to have the long/short s distinction.
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