Re: Ligaturing (was: Yet Another I-Dotting Proposal)

From: Timothy Partridge (
Date: Thu Aug 14 1997 - 14:44:06 EDT

Otto Stolz recently said:

> German ligaturing rules depend on a linguistic analysis,
> as German features unboundedly many compound words,
> and German typesetting rules forbid ligatures across
> constituent-boundaries in composites. Example:
> - "das Schaffell" (sheepskin) has two separate "f" letters,
> - "das Schaffen" (activity; creation) has an "ff" ligature.
> I guess, other languages with many compound words
> will have similar rules. Who knows any examples?
> Another German typesetting rule forbids ligatures
> across stem-suffix boundaries, with the exeption of
> suffixes starting with an "i". So,
> - h=F6flich (corteous) has separate "f" and "l" letters,
> - whilst "h=F6fisch" (courtly) has an "fi" ligature.
> And, low!, my copy of the Cassel's German-English
> dictionary (ISBN 0 05 5229206) does all these examples right :-)

The book "Hart's Rules for Compositors and Readers at the University
Press Oxford" gives similar rules for German. It also mentions that
ffi and ffl ligatures should never be used in German.

I notice that in the Unicode standard the captial form of sharp s (U+00DF)
is given as SS, but there is no compatibility decomposition for the character.
At first sight is looks like a ligature of long s and s. (In some fonts the
vertical line has a short horizontal line on the left in a similar style
to a long s.) Was the character a ligature originally? And would it be useful
to add a compatibility decomposition to the Unicode standard?


Tim Partridge. Any opinions expressed are mine only and not those of my employer

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