[XeTeX] New feature planned for xetex

Kamal Abdali k.abdali at acm.org
Fri Feb 19 00:39:30 CET 2016

On Thu, Feb 18, 2016 at 9:51 AM, Jonathan Kew <jfkthame at gmail.com> wrote:

> Here's an example in Urdu script. There are 3 pages, all containing the
> exact same text.
> Page 1 has \XeTeXinterwordspaceshaping = 0, so this is what existing xetex
> would produce.
> Page 2 has \XeTeXinterwordspaceshaping = 1, which allows the font to kern
> across the inter-word spaces; in some cases this makes the space width
> substantially negative, so that adjacent words actually "overlap" to some
> degree. This avoids the large visual "gaps" that sometimes occur on page 1,
> depending on the shapes of the adjacent words.
> Page 3 has \XeTeXinterwordspaceshaping = 2, so we get the exact same
> line-breaks as page 2, but with some (relatively subtle, mostly)
> improvements to the actual shaping at word boundaries.
> Hope this helps to illustrate why this feature is important (in certain
> specialized cases).

​For such effects, I have so far relied on the Word​​​Space option of
\newfontfamily command in the fontspec package. Two samples
(urdusample0.pdf and urdusample1_5.pdf) of running xelatex on the same Urdu
text as yours are attached. ​They have WordSpace set to 0 and 1.5,
respectively. They are using another Nastaleeq font since I don't know
anything about Awami.

The new converts to Nastaleeq like the interword spaces eliminated
completely, and this seems to be the default in Urdu word processors for
Nastaleeeq. My need is the opposite. As I wouldn't write
in English, I would prefer words to be separate in Urdu also. I don't want
to start an ideological debate here but mention this just to plead to you
to allow in your system some way of allowing interword spaces liberally.

Kamal Abdali
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