Re: [xsl] Authority For Western Line Breaking Rules

Subject: Re: [xsl] Authority For Western Line Breaking Rules
From: "W. Eliot Kimber" <eliot@xxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2003 13:35:44 -0500
Jeff Kenton wrote:

W. Eliot Kimber wrote:

Strunk and White's _Elements of Style_ is another key authority on English-language writing style. It defines exactly the rules I expected:

I suspect that this is about as authoritative as we will find.

There are more detailed guidelines, used by hyphenation software and documented in various places. And then there are pairs of words with identical spellings, but different pronunciation and hyphenation requirements. re-cord (the verb) and rec-ord (the noun) come to mind. There's even a name for these, though I've forgotten it. No cure in that case short of grammatical analysis.

Note that my question isn't about hyphenation--that's a solved problem. My question is about line breaks between, in particular, non-alphanumeric characters (e.g., punctuation) and alphanumerics.

Breaks between punctuation and following non-blank, non-numeric characters is not explicitly disallowed by the Unicode Annex 14 rules, probably because non-Western languages need this to be allowed.

So while those of us whose first language is a Western one just know that you break at spaces and hyphenation points exclusively, non-native speakers may not know this. It is probably a reflection of Western cultural imperialism that this type of rule is not defined or discussed in any obvious place (outside the context of the typesetting program implementations) while Asian line breaking rules are well discussed in a number of easy-to-find places.


W. Eliot Kimber
ISOGEN International, LLC

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