[XeTeX] Word wrapping in Lao

Philip TAYLOR P.Taylor at Rhul.Ac.Uk
Fri Apr 16 11:31:33 CEST 2010

Arthur Reutenauer wrote:

>    This is exactly the problem that TeX's hyphenation algorithm was
> developed for.  It's exactly as you write: you give a list of rules
> describing where you can and you can't break words ("hyphenation
> patterns") and TeX does the job of finding the "nicest" authorized break
> for you.
>    I'm responsible with Mojca Miklavec for maintaining the hyphenation
> patterns in TeX Live; if you can describe the rules more precisely we
> can add patterns for Lao, Thai and Khmer to the set of patterns we
> already have (and it's already quite big, coming from several dozens of
> contributors all over the world).  Mojca added patterns for all the
> major languages of India last month but we have no languages from
> South-East Asia yet. I've always understood the word-breaking rules were
> very different from other languages but I suppose the same mechanism
> could be adapted; you only need to bring the linguistic knowledge!

I agree with your analysis (and thought much the same), but
there is a complication : TeX breaks lines only at spaces unless
it hyphenates a word (default behaviour); what I understand from
Brian's original message (Brian : please correct me if I am wrong)
is that Lao breaks between character pairs rather than at spaces,
and that no hyphenation occurs.  Which made it a fascinating
challenge and well worthy of attention :-)

** Phil.

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