[XeTeX] polyglossia/bidi -- footnote rule alignment

Gareth Hughes garzohugo at gmail.com
Sat Oct 16 14:54:23 CEST 2010

Khaled Hosny wrote:
> On Thu, Oct 14, 2010 at 12:58:15PM -0400, Kamal Abdali wrote:
>> Dear Gareth,
>> Thanks for pointing out the better polyglossia style (\setmainfont).
> I think defining an \urdufont is better than setting it globally using
> \setmainfont (neither is a polyglossia command) in case your Urdu font
> has no Latin characters or you want to use a different Latin font, as
> the former will be used inside Urdu environments only.

Khaled, I would want to debate this. The two fontspec methods, setting
\urdufont and setting \mainfont, are equivalent for Urdu-language
document. It seems that most non-Latin fonts have glyphs filling the
ASCII repertoire as a matter of course. However, these just-in-case
glyphs are probably not fit for quality typesetting. I believe the
polyglossia way is right here: use \setromanfont to declare a quality
Roman font, this defines it as \normalfontlatin while allowing the Urdu
font to be \normalfont. I think this is a more logical approach to a
non-Latin document, that Latin fonts, if required, are defined as
subsidiary, rather than the other way round. Of course, either way will
work, but this seems to make more sense.

Kamal Abdali wrote:
> As to the main problem, Vafa Khalighi has kindly explained that for the
> footnoterule to be aligned correctly, the RTLdocument or rldocument option
> of bidi has to be activated. Apparently, this has not been done by
> polyglossia.
> He has also recommended \autofootnoterule instead \rightfootnoterule.
> That takes care of the problem. It is too easily fixed to require any change
> in polyglossia or its language-specific files.

I had expected that polyglossia automatically selected RTLdocument from
bidi's options when \setdefaultlanguage is an RTL language. This is
important information for me, because the Syriac package I'm writing
makes this assumption too.

I can see how \autofootnoterule is preferable just in case you set some
LTR footnotes too.

For me, the joy of polyglossia is that it interfaces with bidi so that I
don't have to type bidi commands all over the place (the pre-polyglossia
documents I have are littered with these commands every time I want to
change to a language in a different direction). Polyglossia helps make
multilingual typesetting a bit more streamlined. So, I wonder whether
François might want to comment about this. What other issues might arise
when an RTL document is set with bidi when RTLdocument is not selected?


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