bugFree UCS Outline Fonts - Bugs: bug #42157, Tone letters issue


bug #42157: Tone letters issue

Submitted by:  Hsin-tung He <alphabet>
Submitted on:  Mon Apr 21 16:06:39 2014  
Category: character rangeSeverity: 3 - Normal
Item Group: character substitution issueStatus: Proceeding
Privacy: PublicAssigned to: Steve White <Stevan_White>
Open/Closed: OpenRelease: 2012-05-03

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Sun Sep 13 14:17:37 2015, comment #24:

In my opinion, using ligature feature to generate contour tone aren’t badly way, but this way must costs so many time and vigours, and may cause larger file size, using contextual forms will be easier. This idea was inspired by Georg Duffner’s website. One day I browsing this page in Firefox for mobile, I found the ff ligature on the page seems not generated by standard ligature feature when I select the text, I think his typeface is using contextual forms instead, and finally I got proved by FontForge. So I made this idea, and I suggested you should removing exsisted ligatures for tone bars, redesignd via contextual forms.

Hsing-yen He <hammerandsickle>
Fri Sep 11 11:34:34 2015, comment #23:


I have an idea for generating contour tone, you don’t necessary to put so many ligatures, instead you can use contextual sensetive features (“init”, “medi”, “fina”, etc.) to impelement it.

Hsing-yen He <hammerandsickle>
Sun Mar 15 12:03:08 2015, comment #22:

Thanks, Hsing-yen! I can work with these.

(However, it doesn't look very easy. I'll have to think about it.)

Steve White <Stevan_White>
Project AdministratorIn charge of this item.
Sat Mar 14 17:28:22 2015, comment #21:

I also made a TXT file which you can look at, including some combinations that is used for rendering contour tones for general usage, you can implementing for them firstly.

Hsing-yen He <hammerandsickle>
Wed Mar 11 11:46:03 2015, comment #20:


I found some materials that you can see the usage of contour tones, I think they can be seen as reference,

*Yuen Ren Chao, A Grammar of Spoken Chinese, Page 26-28
*Phil Rose, Transcribing Tone – A likelihood-based quantitative evaluation of Chao’s tone letters
*Ryan K. Shosted, Di Wu, Marissa Goldrich, Computational modeling of tone in Iu Mien: An inductive approach for field linguists
*Peter Constable, SIL International, Presentation of tone contours encoded as UCS tone letter sequences
*Fukui Rei, TIPA: A System for Processing Phonetic Symbols in LaTeX
*Fukui Rei, TIPA Manual, A.2.1 Tone letters

Hsing-yen He <hammerandsickle>
Mon Mar 9 07:54:07 2015, comment #19:


What exactly is "poor" about the implementation?

We cannot implement more tones until somebody provides a standards document of some kind. Or some document of some kind.


Steve White <Stevan_White>
Project AdministratorIn charge of this item.
Mon Mar 9 05:02:55 2015, comment #18:

Hi steve,

I tried the test you have uploaded for a long time, and I am glad with it. But I think this implemention is poor. I also copied some contour tones from some Chinese dialects related articles at Wikipedia, found only a few ligature appeared. These compounds should be expand.

Hsing-yen He <hammerandsickle>
Sun Mar 8 20:45:51 2015, comment #17:

Hi, Hsing-yen,

Your PDF file does not contain any FreeFont.

What is your point? Did you try the test I uploaded?

Steve White <Stevan_White>
Project AdministratorIn charge of this item.
Sun Mar 8 07:14:54 2015, comment #16:

Hi steve,

I copied some of contour tones to Notepad from this file to test, but when I choose FreeSans and FreeSerif, they are not coming:


Hsing-yen He <hammerandsickle>
Mon Feb 16 16:22:06 2015, comment #15:

Now I am using 8 Feb. 2015 release to test, but it still have problem. For example, Standard Mandarin tone 3 usually transcript as ˨˩ (21) or ˨˩˦ (214) with tone letter, but they are not combine in FreeSerif and FreeSans.

Hsing-yen He <hammerandsickle>
Wed Jul 16 06:47:04 2014, comment #14:

Normal and oblique faces only.

Steve White <Stevan_White>
Project AdministratorIn charge of this item.
Sun Jul 13 21:58:57 2014, comment #13:


Of course we are eager to support the community using IPA, so long as it can be done within the context of Unicode and other standards. In fact, most of that table has been supported for a long time.

I have now implemented the compounds for tone contours. You'll find a build on the usual site (this is not reflected in the SVN -- I had a nasty disk crash and haven't sorted out the SVN yet.)

  • One question: the form of the last letter for rising-falling tone in Figure 7-7 of Ch 7 of the Unicode Standard is different from the one in the IPA sheet. What is the right form?

Attached find a test page meant to approximate the characters shown in the IPA page.

(file #31709, file #31710)

Steve White <Stevan_White>
Project AdministratorIn charge of this item.
Sat Jul 12 18:58:31 2014, comment #12:

I also think if GNU FreeFont support more phonetic feature as official IPA chart shown on, such as contour tones, then more user will choose it to present transcriptions in IPA.

Hsing-yen He <hammerandsickle>
Thu Jun 19 10:28:48 2014, comment #11:

I think the purpose of this chart is to present how to use IPA standardized, including tone letters. And the International Phonetic Assossiation also recommend to use tone letter and its combinations to present languages' tone after the Kiel Convention of 1989. So many professional documents and some phonetic websites choose to use tone letters and its ligature under the influence of the assossation, then more and more computer fonts started to support contour tones with tone letter's combinations.

Hsing-yen He <hammerandsickle>
Wed Jun 18 06:28:18 2014, comment #10:

Thanks, Hsing-yen!

That's a really nice chart! I'll see how much of it FreeFont can do.

I'm still not sure how this helps with these combinations you seem to be referring to.

Steve White <Stevan_White>
Project AdministratorIn charge of this item.
Wed Jun 18 05:29:39 2014, comment #9:

I found <a href="http://www.langsci.ucl.ac.uk/ipa/IPA_chart_(C)2005.pdf">official IPA chart</a> shown contour tones as ligatures.

Hsing-yen He <hammerandsickle>
Sun Apr 27 22:46:10 2014, comment #8:

Hi Emmanuel,

As I explained, I implemented everything I saw in the Unicode book (Just fig. 7.7). Did I miss something?

We don't simply copy behavior of other fonts. They can be useful as a guide or check, but they do not constitute a standard.

So the question remains: is there a standard for this behavior? Where can we see that?

Steve White <Stevan_White>
Project AdministratorIn charge of this item.
Sun Apr 27 18:54:13 2014, comment #7:

The Unicode Standard, Chapter 7, tells about ligating behavior of tone bars. The examples mentioned are illustrative of the principle, ligature are not restricted to that particular combinations.

Emmanuel Vallois <emmanuel_vallois>
Tue Apr 22 19:55:09 2014, comment #6:

Hi guys,

Is there any chance of some official documentation? A standard of any sort?

Steve White <Stevan_White>
Project AdministratorIn charge of this item.
Tue Apr 22 05:37:55 2014, comment #5:

Sorry for my oversight, I sent a wrong example in comment #4.

Hsin-tung He <alphabet>
Tue Apr 22 05:30:39 2014, comment #4:

I found linked tone bars is widely used to descript some tones which have a different internal pattern of rising and falling pitch, not only for some tone languages, but also for non-tone languages. Even if non-tone languages may have some tones in spoken language.

Here are some examplps I found in Wikipedia:
Pinyin: māma mà mǎ de má ma?
IPA /má ma mâ ma᷉ tə mǎ ma/
English: "Is mom scolding the horse's hemp?"

[u ꜛˈvẽtu ˈnɔɾtɯ kumɯˈso ɐ suˈpɾaɾ kõ ˈmũitɐ ˩˧fuɾiɐ | mɐʃ ꜛˈku̯ɐ̃tu maiʃ su˩˧pɾavɐ | maiz ꜛu viɐꜜˈʒɐ̃tɯ si ɐkõʃꜜˈɡava suɐ ˧˩kapɐ | ɐˈtɛ ꜛkiu ˈvẽtu ˈnɔɾtɯ ˧˩d̥z̥ʃtiu ǁ]
O vento norte começou a soprar com muita fúria, mas quanto mais soprava, mais o viajante se aconchegava à sua capa, até que o vento norte desistiu.

By the way, not only DejaVu fonts, SIL fonts and some Microsoft fonts, but also Linux Libertine support linked tone bars very well.

Hsin-tung He <alphabet>
Tue Apr 22 03:19:01 2014, comment #3:

For a full implementation of linked tone bars, that is which works for any arbitrary succession of tone bars, see DejaVu fonts, or SIL fonts with IPA support (Charis SIL, Doulos SIL, Andika, …); or even (to a certain extent) modern versions of Microsoft fonts as seen in the attached screenshot.
Note that left-stem tone bars (U+A712 - U+A716) work the same and are implemented in SIL fonts (but not in DejaVu).

To test, here are the combinations visible in the screenshot, which I think are the most frequent, first with right stem and then with left stem:
˥˧ ˦˨ ˧˩ ˥˩ ꜒꜔ ꜓꜕ ꜔꜖ ꜒꜖
˩˧ ˨˦ ˧˥ ˩˩˧ ꜖꜔ ꜕꜓ ꜔꜒ ꜖꜖꜔
˧˥˦ ˦˩˨ ˨˩˧ ꜔꜒꜓ ꜓꜖꜕ ꜕꜖꜔

Some random combinations, work with DejaVu (left-stem only) and SIL fonts:
˥˦˨˧˩˥ ꜒꜓꜕꜔꜖꜒
˩˥˧˨˦˥ ꜖꜒꜔꜕꜓꜒

Emmanuel Vallois <emmanuel_vallois>
Mon Apr 21 18:15:37 2014, comment #2:

This has been resolved in the latest version control commit
in Serif, Sans and Mono faces.

Thanks for pointing this out! Let us know what you think!

Steve White <Stevan_White>
Project AdministratorIn charge of this item.
Mon Apr 21 17:24:35 2014, comment #1:

Hello, Hsin-tung,

This is the first I've heard of this.

Documentation in the Unicode Book Ch 7, Fig. 7-7.

I'll look at it right away.

Steve White <Stevan_White>
Project AdministratorIn charge of this item.
Mon Apr 21 16:06:39 2014, original submission:

I found some fonts in Microsoft Windows (such Arial, Cambria, etc) can combined each two or three IPA's tone letters (U+02E5–U+02E9) in sequence for contour tones, but FreeSans and FreeSerif cannot, please fix it.

Hsin-tung He <alphabet>


(Note: upload size limit is set to 16384 kB, after insertion of the required escape characters.)

Attach File(s):

Attached Files
file #33292:  Contour tone essential.txt added by hammerandsickle (2kB - text/plain - I made a text file which you can copy some of combinations for test. I think all of them are essential for purpose of indicating tone contours.)
file #33109:  Test for contour tone.zip added by hammerandsickle (366kB - application/zip - I copied some combinations from here to test, but some of them still have problem.)
file #31709:  IPA-chart.html added by Stevan_White (12kB - text/html)
file #31710:  IPA-chart.pdf added by Stevan_White (167kB - application/force-download)


Depends on the following items: None found

Items that depend on this one: None found


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  • -unavailable- added by hammerandsickle (Posted a comment)
  • -unavailable- added by emmanuel_vallois (Posted a comment)
  • -unavailable- added by Stevan_White (Posted a comment)
  • -unavailable- added by alphabet (Submitted the item)

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    Follow 16 latest changes.

    Date Changed By Updated Field Previous Value => Replaced By
    Fri Nov 6 13:35:44 2015hammerandsickleAttached File-=>Added Illustration_of_contextual_substitution_based_contour_tone.png, #35398
    Sun Jun 7 02:13:34 2015hammerandsickleAttached File-=>Added Test_for_contour_tones.htm, #34170
    Sun Mar 15 12:03:08 2015Stevan_WhiteStatusFix posted=>Proceeding
    Sun Mar 8 16:38:05 2015hammerandsickleAttached File-=>Added Contour tone essential.txt, #33292
    Tue Feb 17 11:15:57 2015hammerandsickleAttached File-=>Added Test for contour tone.zip, #33109
    Wed Jul 16 06:47:04 2014Stevan_WhiteStatusNeed info=>Fix posted
    Sun Jul 13 21:58:57 2014Stevan_WhiteAttached File-=>Added IPA-chart.html, #31709
      Attached File-=>Added IPA-chart.pdf, #31710
    Sun Apr 27 22:46:10 2014Stevan_WhiteStatusFix posted=>Need info
    Mon Apr 21 18:15:37 2014Stevan_WhiteStatusNeed info=>Fix posted
      SummaryTone letters\' issue=>Tone letters issue
    Mon Apr 21 17:24:35 2014Stevan_WhiteCategoryoverall font problem=>character range
      Item Groupbulk text appearance poor=>character substitution issue
      StatusNone=>Need info
      Assigned toNone=>Stevan_White
    Mon Apr 21 16:06:39 2014alphabetAttached File-=>Added Tone letters’ issue.png, #31230

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