[XeTeX] "new-babel", was: Ancient Greek hyphenation

Yves Codet ycodet at club-internet.fr
Tue Apr 24 10:18:16 CEST 2007

Le 24 avr. 07 à 00:57, Bruno Voisin a écrit :

> Le 23 avr. 07 à 20:50, Will Robertson a écrit :
>> On 24/04/2007, at 3:52 , Peter Dyballa wrote:
>>> Am 23.04.2007 um 19:31 schrieb Will Robertson:
>>>> Language-specific typography? Whoever wants it can write their own
>>>> package :)
>>> This is a must for at least two countries or regions (France and
>>> Germany, Austria, Switzerland have strict rules),
>> You'll have to be more specific, I'm afraid. Can you give any
>> examples or references? Even regarding what babel *currently* does? I
>> think Bruno was originally talking about things like how French babel
>> affects the spacing and symbols used in list environments, and things
>> like that. That's really outside the scope of (what I think) we're
>> trying to achieve.
> Consider the following English text:
> Do this; or that!  Why?  Because I am the boss.  And you know the
> saying: "The boss is always right".
> Typeset according to French typographical rules, that would become:
> Do this ; or that ! Why ? Because I am the boss. And you know the
> saying : « The boss is always right ».
> These are all minor differences, but when reading French text
> formatted according to English typographical rules, something feels
> odd. You can't put your finger on it, but you feel something's not as
> it should be.
> I imagine that for you the above English text formatted as in French
> feels odd, too.
> There are other minute differences (which are less and less of an
> admitted norm though) in French typography:
> - All paragraphs start with an indentation, including those following
> immediately chapter and section titles.
> - Dashes in text (used to denote asides, like parentheses): in French
> (I think) we use en-dashes, not em-dashes, and they're separated from
> the surrounding text by spaces, as in -- aside 1 -- and not---aside
> 1---as in the TeXbook.
> And so forth. Not even to speak about lists.
> But entering these territories things are all but commonly admitted,
> and we're succumbing to what I precisely don't like with babel -- its
> insistence on imposing supposed norms on the author.

I quite agree with this. Most of Babel's norms for French (except  
indentation of the first paragraph of a section, perhaps) should be  
left to the author of the document, and if he doesn't care about  
French typography it's his concern, as well as his good or bad  
relationship with his teacher or editor.

Incidentally, there's a norm I had never heard of before I started  
using LaTeX: etymological hyphenation patterns in French. It seems it  
wasn't because I was careless when I was listening to my teachers;  
here is a quotation from "Le Robert, Dictionnaire des difficultés du  
français" (the stars are mine):

*Quelques* auteurs préconisent, dans *certains* cas, la coupure  
étymologique, notamment dans les mots composés de plusieurs racines  
accolées. Convenons qu'il est plus élégant de couper hyper-acidité  
que hypera-cidité. Mais on réservera ces finesses aux personnes  
averties. Quiconque doute de sa science étymologique n'encourra aucun  
blâme s'il s'en tient à la coupure syllabique.

Etymological hyphenation is by no means a rule in French, so perhaps  
the default patterns should be syllabic.


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