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Washington Cyrillic

   ***  The Washington Cyrillic quandry  ***

     I offer a new topic as a diversion.

     I imagine many of you know that the Washington Cyrillic fonts
WNCYR10 etc. have loads of ligatures designed to allow all cyrillic
letters to be typed from the ASCII keyboard.

     I imagine that, at the time these fonts were constructed (when
exactly??) Knuth's assertions in the Textbook that this is a viable way
of dealing with strange alphabets were universally believed,
possibly even by Knuth.  Now we know that this ingenious use of
ligatures badly fouls up both kerning and hyphenation.

     Before I came to use the  WNCY  fonts in earnest, I firmly
believed that to avoid the evils perpetrated by these overly clever
ligatures, it suffices in practice to access each character by some
other available means, say by using an extended ascii keyboard and
active characters. 

     Now I am trying and it almost works.  But not quite. Here is a
typical problem I encounter.  The letter pair <t><s>  *and* the single
letter <ts> both occur in Russian, and must not be confused. After
trying I believe I can typeset  only one correctly:

  --- To get the single glyph <ts> I can indeed key an active
character.  And there is no problem with hyphenation. So far so good.

  --- BUT, to get the letter pair <t><s>, I cannot key <t><s> since a
ligature converts it to <ts>.  The obvious TeX tricks to prevent the 
ligature do not really work: I cannot type <t>{}<s> since that loses
me the non-zero negative kern between <t> and <s>.  Hyphenation there
is however is OK.  

     Any solutions to type the letter pair <t><s> without spoiling the 

     If not, I would recommensd that a *new* series WCY be created by
simply suppressing the renegade ligatures.  I suspect these ligatures
have outlived their usefulness if indeed they ever had one.


                       Larry Siebenmann