[XeTeX] New feature planned for xetex

Zdenek Wagner zdenek.wagner at gmail.com
Fri Feb 19 01:38:01 CET 2016

I have compared both and personally I like Jonathan's version. Of course, I
am not an expert. I do not have any collection of high quality Urdu
documents. I have only seen Mirza Ghalib's manuscript in his museum in New
Delhi and some Urdu documents in the museum in LaL Qila. My knowledge of
Urdu is very weak. Spoken Urdu is basically the same language as Hindi so
that I can listen to BBC Urdu and understand almost everything but reading
is difficult for me and I know nothing about calligraphy. It will take me
hours to read the sample text, I can only recognize from the title that it
is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Anyway, the larger interword
spaces do not help me toread the text.

As an example I am attaching the text from the Jama Masjid in New Delhi.
Look at the beginning of the first line. There is a considerable space
between آ and پ although آپ is a single word. The interword space between
آپ and جامع is smalle that the space in the middle of جامع and there is
almost no space between جامع and مسجد. There is no space between پر and
زیارت but I still can see the words. In the third line the largest space is
in the middle of پرکشش. Of course, it helped me to see the same text in
Devanagari, I would probably be unable to read the Urdu text without it.

Zdeněk Wagner

2016-02-19 0:39 GMT+01:00 Kamal Abdali <k.abdali at acm.org>:

> 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
> "Thequickbrownfoxjumpsdoverthelazydog"
> 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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