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Re: [Groff] Spanish hyphenation

From: Paco Andres Verdu
Subject: Re: [Groff] Spanish hyphenation
Date: Mon, 11 Sep 2000 01:51:21 +0200 (CEST)

Hi Ted,

On Sun, 10 Sep 2000 address@hidden wrote:

> Further to the earlier discussion, I had taken both the sphyph.tex file
> from the TeX archive (created 1991 by Julio Sanchez) and the later one
> I found on my local TeX (created 1995 by  Ramón García Fernández), edited
> them according to what was arrived at in that discussion, and have been
> experimenting with them.

   The file produced by Julio Sanchez is the hyphenation file recommended
by the Spanish TeX users group ( CervanTeX ), there is a project to produce
an unified hyphenation file since there are at least four different
Spanish hyphenation files around, but it seems to go very slowly.

> They both work, though with slightly different results, and neither
> seems to generate an unacceptable hyphenation (I have "Spanish Rules"
> from the Chicago Manual of Style). However, they do not seem to want

    The institution that sets the grammar rules for the Spanish language is
the "Real Academia de la Lengua"  (, the website is down as
I write this so I can't tell you if they have an English version of the
hyphenation rules available on-line.

> to cause all legal hyphenations to occur: I think they are a bit minimal.
> But it is better than nothing: it will mean I only have to hand-craft some
> exceptions in 250+ pages, instead of picking through the lot!

        It would be difficult to automate all legal hyphenations,
since it not only depends on the pronunciation of the word (it division in
syllables), but also on its semantics, so an hyphenation file able to 
generate all the legal hyphenations would be very big.

> At the same time, thank you for your offer to look through some output.
> I have 3+ pages in 3 columns which I will send you privately as a PS
> file, if you would be so kind as to scan them!

   I've briefly looked at your pages and there not seems to be any
unacceptable hyphenation, but there are some minor problems of style.

        - The word televisión is hyphenated as televi-sión, which is an
          accepted hyphenation, but the preferred one would be tele-visión,
          since it's a word composed of two words tele (remote) and visión
          (you guess).  This is the kind of semantic hyphenation that I was
          talking above.

        - The symbol / is used as a word separator (as in English), so it's
          preferred to break the line at that point rather than hyphenate on
          one of the words it separates, i.e .- at pri-mera/segunda
          (translated as first/second), the line should break at the /
          symbol instead of hyphenate the first word, at least looking at
          the space that is left at the end of the line (at the end of the
          third column of the second page).

        - The last one is more a mater of aesthetics rather than a grammar rule,
          at some places the words are hyphenated leaving only a small
          syllable at the end of the line (as in po-demos), this is the
          same issue as the orphan lines, doesn't look nice, but I'm afraid
          this has nothing to do with the hyphenation file.

> NOTE TO INTERESTED PARTIES: If you want to implement Spanish hyphenation
> .
> .
> ...

   Can this note be added to the hyphenation file as a comment?, it would
be of interest to anybody using it.

PS: Please note that I'm a programmer not a linguist, and although Spanish
is my native language some of my statements may be wrong.

Paco Andrés Verdú                                     address@hidden
Alicante (Spain)                                              

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