[XeTeX] (bug?) letterspacing with LetterSpace and soul

John Was john.was at ntlworld.com
Tue Jun 1 21:22:27 CEST 2010

Hello Pablo

I'm afraid I don't know LaTeX but I *think* that plain TeX commands will 
still usually work.  Anyway, once you've started a XeLaTeX document, you 
might try the commands I gave (assuming you have Minion Pro on your system), 
and it has since emerged from the contributions of others to this thread 
that all you need to do to invoke polytonic Greek hyphenation rules is to 


So the lines to paste in before a Greek passage (to see if they would work) 

 \font \myfont = "MinionPro-Regular:+onum:mapping=tex-text:letterspace=12" 
at 12pt
 \tolerance 500

That should give you quite generously letterspaced Greek, with correct 
hyphenation.  (If these commands need to be modified for use in a LaTeX 
environment, I'm sure someone else on this list will leap in.  I *hope* it's 
not the case that if you are using fontspec and/or polyglossia you are then 
precluded from using the more primitive commands and macros that come 
bundled with (Xe)Tex.)

Whenever you need letterspacing, you would just need to use \myfont within a 

Some text some text some text some text some text {\myfont some letterspaced 
text} some text some text some text some text .


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Pablo Rodríguez" <oinos at web.de>
To: "Unicode-based TeX for Mac OS X and other platforms" <xetex at tug.org>
Sent: 01 June 2010 20:07
Subject: Re: [XeTeX] (bug?) letterspacing with LetterSpace and soul

> On 05/29/2010 09:21 PM, John Was wrote:
>> Hello
>> In plain XeTeX I find the passage in the URL works OK with letter-spaced
>> Greek if I give at the start:
>> \font \myfont =
>> "MinionPro-Regular:+onum:mapping=tex-text:letterspace=12" at 12pt
>> \tolerance 500
>> \myfont
>> \hsize 24pc
> Hi John,
> many thanks for your reply.
> Sorry for not having answered before, but your reply was Greek to me (no 
> doubt, due to my own ignorance ;-)).
>> However, XeTeX doesn't know how to hyphenate Greek so to avoid overfull
>> rules I have to give \- explicitly at legitimate breakpoints where the
>> overfull rules occur. It's possible to invoke some of the old Babel
>> hyphenation patterns by using eplain (\input eplain) but unfortunately
>> Babel's Greek hyphenation patterns (in the hyphenation file
>> polutonigreek) are not tied to UTF Greek so have no effect. I don't know
>> if Babel is being actively maintained (since Polyglossia, which requires
>> LaTeX, is a much more sophisticated replacement), but if it were
>> possible to update its hyphenation patterns to cope with UTF input, that
>> would be a very welcome feature for plain (Xe)TeX users.
> What I don't understand why polyglossia is problematic when hyphenating 
> ancient Greek with LetterSpace.
> Pure XeTeX is totally foreign to me and I would need to use LetterSpace in 
> a number of documents.
> Is there no way to solve this?
> Thanks for your help,
> Pablo
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