[XeTeX] Current state of CJK support

Wilfred van Rooijen wvanrooijen at yahoo.com
Mon Mar 8 00:09:45 CET 2010

Hello Gerrit,

I am not an expert, rather a casual user of CJK in xelatex. But since there do not seem to be many answers to your question, let's try to get the discussion going.

> 1. vertical text
> I saw the solution with rotating the boxes, but that seems
> to be a little bit of a dirty hack to me. Does this really
> work over multiple pages and with correct center line
> positioning?

I have used the rotating glyphs trick and as far as I remember, it works more or less OK. I was mixing horizontal and vertical typesetting in one document and that was quite OK, I expect results to be better if a pure-vertical text is made.

> 2. ruby
> If supported, is it to a full degree, or only basic? Do the
> ruby characters fit neatly in the line spacing or does the
> line get shifted a little bit? And is Bopomofo supported?
> Also, does it work for vertical text?

Yes, although I don't remember the name of the package. There are numerous ruby packages available, I don't know if the package for xelatex is specifically xelatex or just an older package. It works for vertical text as well.

> 3. emphasis (with the 、markings next to the characters)

I guess ruby should be able to handle that.

> 4. nice looking footnotes (for example, a (一) as a
> ruby)

I don't know,

> 5. automatic switching between different fonts
> Ok, this is not really restricted to CJK, but wouldn’t it
> be in general possible to use the Unicode names for the
> different Blocks as some kind of help for that? For example
> \setmainfont{Linux Libertine}
> \setmainfont[CJK Unified Ideographs]{PMingLiu}
> \setmainfont[CJK Unified Ideographs Extension
> B]{PMingLiu-ExtB}
> If so, you could use a Latin font for Latin text, a Chinese
> font for Chinese etc.

Yes, there is a mechanism. I think the command is called \XeTeXinterchartoks or something along those lines. One of the people on this list has posted several examples of how to set up a document with automatic switching of the fonts depending on the kind of characters.

> 6. kinsoku shori
> Is it possible to define certain levels of forbidden
> characters? E.g. do not start a line with ょ, or at some
> other level be allowed to start the line with ょ.

I don't know. Such a thing would seem un-TeX to me: it is up to the user, not the software, to make sure the content is "valid".

> 7. Kanbun
> 8. Translations of „chapter“ etc.

There are Japanese packages for polyglossia (the successor of babel for xelatex) although at present polyglossia does not yet officially support Japanese.

> 9. Japanese and Taiwanese year numbering (Heisei 22,
> Mínguó 99)

I don't know.

I am located in Japan, but it seems to me that xelatex is just as uncommon here as it is in other parts of the world. Everybody seems to use MS Word, really. Latex users typically rely on ptex and platex, which are native developments and fully support all quirks of the Japanese typesetting system. I think it is still included with some linux-distributions. If you go looking for xelatex stuff you can find several packages etc. but it is all rather unorganized (in my opinion).


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