RE: [xsl] Authority For Western Line Breaking Rules

Subject: RE: [xsl] Authority For Western Line Breaking Rules
From: Wendell Piez <wapiez@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2003 12:07:04 -0400
At 03:53 AM 9/16/2003, Bryan wrote:

>I am trying to find an authority for the rules by which Western
>languages are composed into lines, in particular, the rules for where
>line breaks are allowed.

What do you mean by authority, hopefully not something on the order of

Do you mean something like this:

Although perhaps a philologically oriented rule, as in the tradition of
line breakage was established....?

It is interesting and significant that Strunk and White pass the buck on this one, saying "The student will do well to examine the syllable-division in a number of pages of any carefully printed book." I have no doubt that if the student did wrong, and then cited a printed example, the stern professor could simply say "it's not carefully printed".

In other words, like much in typography, it's left up to the "common sense" and judgement of the typographer -- who does not have (and who would not use: after all he's an artist!) an algorithm to determine the outcome in a given case, though there may be principles to follow.

Yet Strunk and White don't touch Eliot's question as it applies to periods. I wonder if the period isn't a red herring here, and the existence of a space the main thing? Such a rule might even work most of the time, at least until the introduction into documents of long-strings-that-have-no-spaces-such-as-long-URIs. Meseems one could earn a Ph.D. dissertation studying such questions....


Wendell Piez                            mailto:wapiez@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Mulberry Technologies, Inc.      
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