[NTG-pdftex] /cwm

Reinhard Kotucha reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Tue Mar 14 00:06:41 CET 2006

/cwm (compwordmark) in AGL or #200C in Unicode, see:


(ZERO WIDTH NON JOINER) is a glyph with zero width which is intended
to mark word boundaries.

In German, the word "Auflage" should not contain an "fl"-ligature
because it is composed from two words.  There is a macro which allows
for breaking such ligatures in german.sty and babel[german].

The glyph /cwm has never been used by TeX but Walter considers to make
use of it in the future.  The advantage would be that the behaviour of
the TeX macro which breaks ligatures at word boundaries will depend on
the font, while it is unaware of the font currently in use now.

If I understood Walter correctly, he wants to add kerning at such word
boundaries in a way that the amount of kerning depends on the current
font.  Currently the same amount of kerning is applied to all fonts.

However, I'm sure that the glyph /cwm is missing in many fonts.

On the other hand, if we need kerning, we do not need a special glyph
from a font, create a virtual font with modified metrics, and so on.

When we have OTF support some day, I assume that we need some new
primitives anyway which support additional metrics derived from OTF
files which are not supported by \fontdimen.

As far as I can see, it's reasonable to add a new primitive so that
you can write

   \compwordkern\font = .2em

The TeX macro which breaks ligatures then can insert \compwordkern for
the current font.

This way we can have different kernings for different fonts and we are
completey independ of the fonts we use.

And, of course, I assume that microtype.sty will hide all the low-level


Reinhard Kotucha			              Phone: +49-511-4592165
Marschnerstr. 25
D-30167 Hannover	                      mailto:reinhard.kotucha at web.de
Microsoft isn't the answer. Microsoft is the question, and the answer is NO.

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