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

Hans Hagen j.hagen at xs4all.nl
Mon Sep 30 15:22:41 CEST 2019

On 9/29/2019 9:30 AM, Shuxian Wang wrote:
> 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?
maybe \mfunction{...} is what you are looking for

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