RE: [xsl] Authority For Western Line Breaking Rules

Subject: RE: [xsl] Authority For Western Line Breaking Rules
From: "bryan" <bry@xxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 17 Sep 2003 10:28:52 +0200
>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
>number of easy-to-find places.

Are Asian line breaking rules discussed, outside of technical/scholarly
works, commonly in their respective societies. That is to say do the
users of Asian line breaking rules know the provenance of those rules? 

This is basically what you are asking for when you want a pointer to an
authority on western line breaking rules, I suspect that in most
cultures these rules are cultural (when rules exist and are not left to
individual typographers
) arrived at through a process of historical accretion, and as such the
most likely authorities would be philological in nature. As per Michael
Kay's post where he notes that some lands may have a governing body for
such rules, I suppose also that some lands may have established such
rules officially at some point. I am of thinking specifically of Germany
which codified the German language about the time of establishment as a
nation, it may be that they made a similar codification of layout. 

I know that Denmark has a codification of rules for layout of government
forms, there might also be a codification of layout for government
documents (in fact I'm pretty sure there is). As to whether or not said
codification gets so obsessive as to detail line breaking rules is
another question. 

As Wendell noted this question could consume a PHD dissertation. In
giving some thought to it I'm struck that society wide rules are more
prevalent for things that are considered to carry semantic weight in a
communication, i.e. content (most grammatical rules), and less prevalent
for things that are basically rules of display (hyphenation). 

I feel a long meditation on mixing display and content in pre-markup
forms of communication, and I better jump off at this point. 

A serious student of a Western Language, coming from an Asian culture,
might be more cognizant of the origins of Western Language line breaking
rules, than someone raised with those rules. I suspect that it would be
the same for a serious student of various Asiatic languages, coming from
a Western Culture.

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