[tex-hyphen] Unicode patterns for Unicode in Pdflatex/Babel?

Arthur Reutenauer arthur.reutenauer at normalesup.org
Sun Jun 12 20:38:23 CEST 2011

    Hi Daniel,

> I am trying to make myself clear: I would like to know if it wouldn't be possible to employ a custom
> Unicode hyphenation rules/pattern file also for Pdflatex/Babel when the text there is Unicode, too

  That shouldn't be necessary: the patterns that are presented to pdfTeX are encoded in some *font* encoding, distinct from the input encoding that you use in your document.  The inputenc and fontenc packages take care of mapping the code positions from the input encoding to the font encoding, be it UTF-8 or an 8-bit encoding.  As far as the patterns are concerned, they're always encoded in UTF-8 in the different hyph-<lang>.tex, and are converted on the fly when input by pdfTeX, at format generation time, to whatever font encoding is appropriate for the language at hand.  The inputenc / fontenc packages then do the job for you, and you can use any encoding you wish in your document. 

  However, I'm going to venture a wild guess and assume that the language you're interested in is Sanskrit, a language which actually has patterns disabled for pdfTeX, because we couldn't determine what font encoding was appropriate when the patterns were submitted: for the vast majority of languages that had patterns when Mojca and I took over work on hyphenation files three years ago, there was one single 8-bit encoding, that was used by both the pattern file and the Babel support files.  Several languages, though, have been added in the mean time, including Sanskrit, that had no dedicated 8-bit encoding that we could use(*).  We thus decided to make them available for Unicode-aware TeX engines only; hence, you don't have access to them from pdfTeX.  But if you have a reason to want to use them, we'll gladly make them available as well.  That won't be a problem at all; we only never considered the issue because we didn't think it would come up -- Mojca, what do you think?


(*) Note that packages to typeset Devanagari in TeX, as well as several other Indic scripts, have existed for a long time, but they didn't have any hyphenation patterns attached.  These have only be added recently from different contributors, and when Mojca found out that OpenOffice shipped many pattern files for modern Indian languages.  All the files were encoded using UTF-8. 

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