[XeTeX] Hyphenation of strings of more than 63 characters

Jonathan Kew jfkthame at gmail.com
Tue Mar 15 15:46:56 CET 2016

On 15/3/16 14:24, Peter Mukunda Pasedach wrote:
> Dear XeTeX list,
> I am dealing with a collection of texts in Sanskrit, for which the
> builtin limitation of TeX to not perform hyphenation after the 63rd
> character of a string is imposing a serious limitation, as such
> strings do occur. One reason for this is that one can freely form very
> long compounds, another one is sandhi, in which due to euphonic
> changes ending and beginning vowels fuse, another one that in Indic
> scripts if one word ends in a consonant and the next one starts with a
> vowel they are written together, another reason can be that scribes
> simply do not use spaces consistently. Thus in the collection of texts
> that I'm working on, currently comprising of 37 files, strings of more
> than 63 characters occur 1823 times.
> Is this limitation of 63 characters just an odd remnant of the time
> TeX was written in, then necessary because of hardware limitations, or
> does it still make sense? Is there a reasonable way to remove it, or
> set it significantly higher?

I suspect (without actually checking the code) that it would be fairly 
trivial to make it significantly higher (less so to remove it entirely; 
but something like 255 or even 1000-plus would probably be simple).

A change like this would need to be optional, however, so that the 
typesetting of existing documents does not change unless the user 
deliberately chooses the modified behavior.

It's probably too late to be adding a new feature for the TL'16 release; 
are you prepared to recompile xetex yourself from source in order to 
make such a change?


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