Some additional Private Use Area code points for ligatures.

Unicode at present has some ligature characters and also a long s on its own and the German Eszett character.

The long s on its own is encoded in Unicode as U+017F and the Eszett as U+00DF.

Unicode currently has the ligatures ff, fi, fl, ffi, ffl, long s t and st at U+FB00 through to U+FB06.

There is presently a policy of not adding any further ligature characters to regular Unicode.

However, as there are some situations where a set of such ligature characters would be useful, here are some Private Use Area code points for ligatures, provided in the hope of being helpful to end users of the Unicode system who might like to have a list of code points for such ligatures.

This list, the code points being entirely the choice of the present author, is published by the present author. The code points chosen are only as consistent amongst end users as end users choose to make them. These code points are not a "standard". They are simply provided on the basis that a list is better than no list, in that the existence of a list will hopefully encourage interest in these ligature characters as part of our typographic heritage and hopefully help in any efforts to computerise ligature characters being as portable as possible.

This list is a supplement to the first and second lists, adding some more ligature characters. This list does not alter either the first list or the second list.

In the course of my research carried out in preparing this series of lists, a matter which interested me was as to whether there existed ligatures which included both a letter f and a long s in the same ligature.

In the event, an email correspondent provided me with a reference to a document available on the internet which includes a long s f ligature. This, interestingly, in the context of Fraktur.

Please see the table on page 12 of that document.

I have wondered about whether other ligatures including f and long s together in the same ligature would occur, perhaps in the context of 18th Century English printing. I have no present knowledge of the matter.

However, such ligatures may not in fact ever have existed, or, if they did, it might take a long time to find them. Taking note of that situation and balancing that with the fact that I would like to add the long s f ligature into this series of lists, together with the fact that one or more makers of electronic founts may perhaps implement whatever happens to be in the lists as of the time that he or she finds them, completing the project then perhaps being reluctant to reopen the project at a later date to add a few extra ligatures, I have added four extra ligatures at this time, with no knowledge as to whether they are based in actual practice or just artistic imaginings of my own, yet feeling that, on balance, it would be better to add them in rather than leave them out.

The code points chosen are intended so as to leave space open for the possibility of further expansion in the event that evidence of historical usage or practical need is found, yet there is, as of the time of writing, no reason to think that any such expansion is imminent, or even likely. My reason for adding these present five additional pairings of code points with ligatures is simply to include the long s f ligature and provide a few other ligatures which, given the long s f ligature, seem reasonable, at the same time.

Naturally, anyone implementing ligatures in founts using this series of lists may, if he or she so chooses, not implement some of them. However, I feel that it is not unreasonable for me to add in the four extra ligatures in this list as long as I explain my reasons for doing so.

U+E780 f long s

U+E790 long sf
U+E791 long sfi
U+E792 long sfj
U+E793 long sfl

William Overington

3 June 2002


This file is accessible as follows.