[XeTeX] (no subject)

BPJ melroch at gmail.com
Thu May 25 15:52:36 CEST 2023

(Apologies to those who get cross-posts of this — I hope to reach as many
as possible, and believe that there may be people here who have relevant

Hello everyone,

I'm looking for advice from people who have used LaTeX, preferably XeLaTeX
but LuaLaTeX is interesting too,[1] to write a (“traditional”) reference
grammar (or even better an historical reference grammar), and if so have
you anything to share — code or pointers or examples? I will almost
certainly mesh LaTeX and Pandoc so experiences from handling the issues
mentioned below in that context are very welcome.

I have tried to find something on CTAN but have come up empty handed, and
googling “write [natural language] reference grammar with LaTeX” has proved

The first feature I will need is section numbers — “§ 42” style — which are

-   in the left margin against a paragraph;
-   possible to reference with links in the PDF;
-   preferably using a label since the actual numbers may be subject to
change when adding/moving around parts;
-   with running § numbers (of first § on left page and (preferably) last §
on right page) in the page headers;
-   independent of chapter/heading structure: a § number/label stands
against a paragraph rather than a heading, and naturally a paragraph may or
may not have one;
-   possibile to have indices — index rerum and index verborum for multiple
languages — referring to § numbers rather than pages.

So I think that more generally this is about

-   custom label/reference categories;
-   custom counters;
-   getting things into the (left) margin flush with the top of a paragraph;
-   getting custom things (involving counters) into page headers;
-   custom index formats, specifically indices referencing other numbers
than page numbers.[2]

I fully expect to have to set up most of this myself, and am willing to
write external scripts to deal with aspects of it — preferred language Perl
(which I have been using since the mid nineties) and I’m able and willing
to use PerlTeX if convenient, since I’m a far better Perl than TeX
programmer, although getting a grip on LaTeX solutions would be wonderful!
:-) I also have Lua experience but as I'm using above-ASCII Unicode a lot
Lua may be less useful. FWIW I have a good grip on how to do
Unicode-aware/custom-order sorting in Perl and I have even written (slow)
code to do Unicode-aware/custom-order sorting in Lua.

[1] This involves needing to use system fonts and Unicode/UTF-8 encoded
text using multiple scripts. Mostly Latin, IPA, Greek and some Cyrillic,
but using some “exotic” Latin letters and combining marks.

[2] This looks relevant: <https://tex.stackexchange.com/a/63674/93534>.
Using memoir seems to be a good idea anyway.
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