Typographic ligature

A ligature (also composite letters, the medieval Latin ligatura "connection", after the Latin Ligari " ( ver) tethered " ) is in typography the fusion of two or more letters to a glyph. Ligatures caused either by rapid spelling of frequently used characters or for the optical correction. In block ligatures are used today especially when two letters with ascenders (eg, f, i, l, t) follow each other, there's a gap between the letters would occur without ligature or unsightly when using the kerning compounds of ascenders would. In the lead sentence ligatures for enabling undercuts are absolutely necessary.

  • 2.1 The ligatures w and ß
  • 2.2 The characters &, %, and @

Character set

Avoid ligatures optical gaps that interfere with reading. Ligatures found mainly in the professional kit use, but are omitted for reasons of time especially in a newspaper. They are usually designed typographic form and not just a simple reduction of the amount of tracking ( see illustrations).

In German texts, the ligatures are ff, fi, fl, ft, and combinations thereof ( ffi, ffl, etc.) familiar, less common are ligatures as of fk, fj, fh, fb, fz, ll, st, ch, ck, ct, th, tt, tz, kk, Qu, si, ss, ft, sch. Depending on the font, these are also rare ligatures in the strict sense, since the individual letters kerning are moved closer to each other, but received no actual connection. The number of ligatures is different in different fonts.

Application of the German

In German ligatures are set only if the letters are to be connected in the same morpheme, so for example in the stem. Ligatures are not usually set when they separate a grammatical joint ( eg a Wortfuge ). " Occlusal surface " ( chewing surface ) is therefore written with fl ligature; however, is no ligature used in "Merchants " because the letters f and l here in different parts of words ( clerks ) are. An exception suffixes that begin with i ( -ig, -in,- I, -ish ). Here ligatures also be set via the grammatical gap of time. For example, "often" written in spite of the Groove ( Freq strength) with fi ligature.

The use of ligatures is not regulated binding, generally, follow the principle: If the letters are spoken separately, no ligature used.

Lead set

The use of ligatures has the lead sentence in addition to the aesthetic and technical reasons. Without ligatures one only had the choice to make the letter f him flush on the cone, generating a flow of reading disturbing, hole ' in the set image would result, or additional to allow him the right freely over the cone so that it the part about the cone subsequent letter rage. The so- exempt part of f, however, would break off easily without the protective cone. For this reason, the combinations in question are directly poured together on a cone (see Logotype ).

Computer Set

The computer set today allows an almost arbitrary positioning of the letters. Therefore, it is possible to adjust the distance between two characters and dispense many cases ligatures. Many fonts offer special ligatures. Other ligatures are emulated by appropriate positioning of the typographical characters. The ß - ligature is treated as a letter and used by default.

New font techniques such as OpenType, Graphite by SIL or Apple's little common AAT allow manual or automatic also use ligatures without changing the underlying code, unless this is explicitly provided in a font. Some programs such as Quark Xpress (version 7) or InDesign offer this possibility with OpenType both Mac OS X and Windows.

With most Microsoft programs such as Word (up to version 2007) ligatures must be inserted as a special character and therefore confuse the spelling checker. The emulating some ligatures of several individual characters is more successful if the font style of the font is already adapted to it. Microsoft Word 2010 is the first version of Word, the OpenType ligatures based officially supported.

Difficulties may arise in the spell checker. Some set programs support the use of ligatures in a rather complex manner. Some layout programs (for example, TeX ) therefore displace the use of ligatures in the output process, which solves the problem only partially, since it depends on the context, if a character has to be set as a ligature or not. The setter must explicitly specify whether a ligature should be set or not (eg LaTeX "buy" | people " to suppress the automatic ligature ). Automated reduction or suppression of ligatures based on the hyphenation dictionaries is far from any done typesetting program.

Unwanted " ligatures " can arise when letters are to close together. Many fonts contain relevant information for the optimization of the distances of pairs of letters, called kerning.

The universal character set - Unicode - provides only very limited support for ligatures. Only a few ligatures such as "fi" have for compatibility with existing character sets / encodings (among Macintosh Roman) their place in Unicode. The Unicode Consortium refuses on principle to accept further ligatures in Unicode and justified this by saying that ligatures a problem of character representation, not the character encoding are. Control of the thus necessary automatic ligation is with the binding inhibitor U 200 C ( connection suppress ) and the wide loose connector U 200 D ( Enforce ) happen, as in HTML character entities (zero width non- joiner ) or were added (zero width joiner ).

Fracture rate

In the German- fracture rate, there are a number of ligatures. Also in the fracture rate in each case, the rule is that a ligature should not be placed over a Wortfuge of time ( example: Ta - tz- e = tz- ligature, but Lu -ft -z ug = ft ligature z). This also applies to family name of Slavic origin to Becky (eg Ranicky ), which - are written not with ck- ligature, but separate letters c and k - according to the separate debate.

In the off- set are the ligatures ch, ck, tz ft and not locked. All other common ligatures ( ff, fi, fl, ft, ll, si, ss, ft, tt, since the beginning of the 20th century, sch) are blocked, ie dissolved in the blocking set in individual letters. When ft is also the possibility that it will not lock in the lock record, but still resolve. The beta was conceived not as a ligature, but as a single letter is already in the 19th century and consequently are not resolved.

The reformed German spelling revived in the s- case an idea from the early 19th century again, the so-called Heysesche s- sensitive. In Heyseschen Fremdwörterbuch dipped for double -s at the end of a word a specially created ligature ss (see links).

Importance in the writing system

In European writings a ligature is an element of the graphical user interface structure of the written language, which means that they are not a necessary part of the system of writing ( spelling ). Their use follows solely typographic rules designed both the optical and aesthetic design, without being necessary for the importance of distinguishing words. For the functioning of the German spelling for example it is not necessary to " tricky " to write with the ligature for ffl. The use of ligatures is mandatory orthographic in any European language, it is purely a stylistic device and varies from font to font. Ligatures are therefore not graphemes of a writing system.

Of these real, synchronous as such used ligatures units of a writing system are to be distinguished, the ( diachronic ) are the result of ligatures originally (see also the development of the Latin alphabet ). These include letters such as w, ß, æ, œ and characters such as & and % (see below). The use of such letters is subject today (synchronous) orthographic rules, they are minimal distinctive units of a writing system and thus graphemes as other letters also.

The ligatures w and ß

→ Main article: w, ß

The letter w has developed as a ligature of two u and v, respectively. Until the Middle Ages was u and v only aesthetically between the letters, not the phonetic value after distinguished. In some languages, this origin is still to understand the Letter (English double u " double -u", Spanish doble uve or doble v " double - v", French double v " double -v ").

In the small print w has been realized in the absence of Letter in several ways, in fracture rate, for example, with a round r as " rv ".

The origins of the letter and the ligature ß ( sharp s ) are not yet fully understood. The German ß has presumably developed in the broken writings of the late Middle Ages as a ligature of long s (s ) and z. In the early modern roman and italic types, however, it has evolved as a ligature of long s and s round. This variant of the double -s fell in the documents mentioned in the 18th century simultaneously with the long s into disuse. In the second half of the 19th century continued the letter ß - modeled after the fracture rate - gradually in Antiqua set by. By accepting the decisions of the orthographic Conference of 1901 which was also in Antiqua ß set for official rules.

While the current German spelling the ß limited to use after long vowels and diphthongs, and thus recognizes only the ß - letters, use authors and publishers like Diogenes, who continue to use the spelling of the 20th century, the ß ligature after village is conquered. Both variants are mainly considered from a linguistic point of view as equivalent, while ruling over the typographical equality still disagreement. The "inventor" of the Reformed ß / ss case anyway, Johann Christian August Heyse, had, after fierce criticism of his spelling variant was expressed in 1826 suggested " a new character to creiren [ and ] a connecting s with a s". This new ligature corresponded to the principle in the 20th century from s and s newly- ß for Antiqua.

The characters &, %, and @

The ampersand is a ligature of the original single letter " e" and " t" ( "et", Latin for " and"). In the script there was initially developed in a representation in which the arch of the little e goes to the root of the small t. If the e capitalized, resulting in many italic fonts the adjacent diagram. It has been formed by further simplification known today ampersand (including ampersand ).

The percent sign % is a ligature of "per cento " ( Italian for " hundred " ), the @ sign is commonly regarded as a ligature of "ad" or "at". The origin is not yet clear.

Ligatures in other languages ​​and scripts

In Scandinavian texts, the ligatures of sk, sl and STH are common. In the French language, a distinction is aesthetic and orthographic ligatures. The orthographic ligatures are binding, may not be written separately and apply as separate letters ( Æ and Œ, l' e -dans- l'a and l' e -dans- l'o ). Controversial is the position of the ligature IJ as a separate letter in the alphabet of the Netherlands.

Not only in the Latin script, there are ligatures, in many others they are available. The Greek alphabet is found as a numeral for the number 6 or the old capital letter Ϛ ( stigma ), a ligature of Sigma and Tau. Ever since the Byzantine period is sometimes for the digraphs ΟΥ (Omicron -Wye, spoken / u / ), the ligature Ȣ used.

The Cyrillic letter Ю ( Ju ) goes back to a ligature of the Greek letters iota and omicron. The Serbian uses the ligatures Љ ( LJE ) and Њ ( Nje ), composed of Л Н and or the soft sign Ь for the palatalized sounds / l ʲ / and / n ʲ /.

Some fonts are generally written in word units connected and printed, such as Mongolian and Arabic. In the Arabic script, the form of the sign depends on the context. There are up to four different forms depending letter: isolated, initial, medial and final. The only Zwangsligatur in Arabic is the Lam - Alif ( لا ) that arises from the connection of the letters ل ( Lam ) and ا (Alif ). In certain fonts is added a large number of other ligatures, but the use thereof is not compulsory.

In almost all Indian scriptures ligatures play an important role. Here they are not only typographical variants, but have a graphematic status, their use is so important distinctive. In the Indian scriptures each letter carries an inherent vowel ( usually a). When two consonants come together directly without vowel, they are connected to form a ligature. Especially in Sanskrit texts occur sometimes very complicated ligatures with three or more components. Some ligatures are simple in their mode of formation, for example, result in the Devanagari script स (sa) and न (na) the ligature स्न ( sna ). For other compounds, such as क्ष ( KSA) - from क ( ka) and ष (SA) - the individual ingredients, however, are not readily recognizable. But the Tamil and the Sinhala font not use ligatures, but a special diacritical mark, which indicates the absence of the inherent vowel.