[XeTeX] xunicode.sty -- pinyin and TIPA shortcuts

Robert Spence spence at saar.de
Thu Apr 6 21:41:14 CEST 2006

G'day Will,

On 05 Apr 2006, at 01:16 , Will Robertson wrote:

> On 04/04/2006, at 13:24 , Robert Spence wrote:

> I'm only qualified to answer the fontspec parts of your letter,  
> since linguistics is quite outside of my field. Engineering and  
> linguists don't tend to overlap too much!

But some of the best (simplest, most robust) things done so far in  
linguistics have been done by engineers!  It's that gung-ho, let's- 
build-it-and-see-if-works attitude, combined with a generous amount  
of higher mathematics that's available when necessary (which is  
hopefully not all that often).

>> I had defined a colour called WSPRgreen (are those Will  
>> Robertson's initials, by any chance?)
> Only unofficially :) The "P" might be formally added one day, but I  
> haven't got around to it.

Well I reckon those colours you use in the fontspec manual are worth  
bottling.  So if you ever do add that initial you should try  
patenting the colours along with the names I gave them and make us  
all pay licence fees to use them.  And don't forget to franchise them  
to Apple.

>> (BTW: the ability that fontspec.sty gives you to play around with  
>> so many---usually fairly tasteless---combinations of all those  
>> beautiful OSX system fonts makes me appreciate what an excellent  
>> job GTA did in selecting the default combinations for gtamacfonts,  
>> despite what one may or may not think about the best weight for  
>> Gill Sans with Hoefler Text in koma-script-style section  
>> headings... ;-)
> Yes, the GTA fonts thing looks very useful, regardless of its  
> legality. I'd eventually like to provide a fontspec interface to  
> regular LaTeX with similar mechanisms, but I think it requires more  
> resources than I can provide.
> As far as combinations of fonts go, I've tended towards using  
> variations of the same font as much as possible for single  
> documents, and then you never have the problem of clashing styles!  
> Quite few of the Mac OS X fonts look very good together, given the  
> total number of combinations possible.

I'd stick to Hoefler Text, myself, if I didn't need so many glyphs  
that it doesn't contain...
The problem is that you get spoilt as soon as you see how many glyphs  
you can access in some of those new unicode OpenType fonts---even  
though they're often lacking either bold or italic.  Ideally I'd like  
to write a set of high-level macros for highlighting different  
_kinds_ of important concepts that occur in linguistics texts, then  
have Xe(La)TeX do all the associated font selecting automatically.   
But it's difficult to know in advance how many variables you're going  
to need, and how much redundancy you should build in to a concept- 
highlighting system (like changing colour _and_ typeface).  The nitty- 
gritty of typography overtaxes my untrained aesthetic sensibilities,  
I'm afraid.  But I do know that I can't make discreet, submaximal use  
of a less-than-maximal set of possibilities, so I'm determined to try  
to find a matching bold, italic, small caps, etc. for everything,  
even if it means potentially having to resort to using colour to  
soften the somewhat unpleasant impact that the change of font design  
parameters makes on the reader.  And besides, trying to set up  
default combinations by mixing different fonts is a good way to learn  
the syntax of fontspec.sty---even if most of the choices end up  
having to be abandoned because they break too many of the  
typographical rules that you only end up appreciating by having  
unsuccessfully tried to break them.

Thanks again for fontspec.sty --- I'm starting to understand it a bit  
better since I started reading the actual code.  I forgot, a few  
times, at first, that XeTeX has to do what TeX does before it can do  
what LaTeX does.

Best wishes,
-- Rob Spence

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