[NTG-context] Multi-letter words/identifiers in math

Shuxian Wang wsx at udscbt.io
Sun Sep 29 09:30:33 CEST 2019


Dear list,

I am trying to typeset some multi-letter words/identifiers in 
mathematical formulas. Currently, doing things like `{\it variable}` or 
`{\mathit variable}` under math mode will cause the engine to shift all 
characters into the corresponding unicode mathematical alphanumeric 
block position. However, most OpenType fonts that have good support for 
unicode math are optimized for single-character usage. Therefore, the 
outcome of such method is non-ideal, as no kerning or ligatures will be 
enabled. Especially, this gives bad output when typesetting variable 
names with combinations like “ffi”.

Looking through some past discussions on the list, I am aware of the 
usage of `\mathword` and `\mathtext`. Using those command will keep all 
the characters “as is” and typeset them under text mode (as far as I 
can tell). But those commands switch to the main body fonts temporarily 
to accomplish this. Sometime when using a different math font than the 
main font (like Palatino with Latin Modern Math), I wish my variable 
names can also be in the math font (or at least very similar, such as 
Latin Modern vs. Latin Modern Math) to better merge with the formula.

The way I am currently doing is to introduce some “math text fonts” 
that is different from the main text font but close to the math font. 
And with custom font switchers like `\mwrm` and `\mwit` to help me 
define things like
```
\def\wordrm#1{\mbox{\mwrm #1}}
\def\wordit#1{\mbox{\mwit #1}}
```
Am I missing some builtin functionalities or easier ways to do this? If 
not, would it be a good idea to extend the functionality of `\mathword` 
so it lifts out the restriction of only using the main text font?

Thanks!

Shuxian Wang
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