[XeTeX] Ancient Greek hyphenation

Apostolos Syropoulos asyropoulos at yahoo.com
Fri Apr 20 09:46:36 CEST 2007

The greek option of the babel package assumes that user uses a METAFONT font
which uses all 256 slots for the Greek letters and so when on attempts to typeset
Greek documents whith these tools he/she gets crap. In addition, we do need
a Unicode-aware babel as, for example, the same problem happens with Cyrillic,
Thai, Hebrew, etc . texts. The command \textlatin and the declaration \latintext
are completely useless when using a Unicode encoded font. These commands
change fonts since the standard CMR fonts do not contain the "foreign"
glyphs needed to typeset these "foreign" languages. Also, let me stress that
when typesetting Greek text that is part of an otherwise Latin-based-script 
document, people should try to use the same font or at least a font that 
matches with the main font, or else the document will not be aesthetically 

PS Obviously, my solution can be easily extended so as create a unicode
babel (xbabel?). I do not think this is difficult, but we need people to work
for each language definition file. And indeed this would be an interesting

*Apostolos Syropoulos                                          *
*snail mail: 366, 28th October Str., GR-671 00  Xanthi, HELLAS *
*email     : asyropoulos (at) yahoo (dot) com                  *
*phone num.: +30-2541-028704                                   *
*home page : http://obelix.ee.duth.gr/~apostolo                *

----- Original Message ----
From: Nikola Lecic <nlecic at EUnet.yu>
To: xetex at tug.org
Sent: Thursday, April 19, 2007 11:33:43 PM
Subject: Re: [XeTeX] Ancient Greek hyphenation

On Thu, 19 Apr 2007 12:25:23 -0700 (PDT)
Apostolos Syropoulos <asyropoulos at yahoo.com> wrote:

> Do not use babel when typesetting Greek documents. Instead use the
> xgreek package. To generate the format I use my own hyphen.cfg file:
> \message{H

> \newlanguage\american
> \begingroup
> \language\american
> \input ushyphmax.tex
> \endgroup
> \input xgrmhyph.tex
> \input xgrahyph.tex
> \endinput
> Now in XeLaTeX file you load hyphenation patterns with
> \language=\XXXX I do not use the "standard" babel thing
> because the greek option of the babel package relies on
> (stupid!) font encodings etc. 
> Apostolos

Well, if "multi-" in in your multilingual document means "more than 3 languages", and you don't want to investigate existence of separate (and non-standardised) packages for each of these languages, babel can be very useful.

You can easily fix babel's encoding problems: please follow Jonathan's instruction from


Nikola Lečić
XeTeX mailing list
postmaster at tug.org

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