Neither Emacs nor Vim nor Nano handle ligature literal insertion well

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Neither Emacs nor Vim nor Nano handle ligature literal insertion well

Andrew Pennebaker
Hello,

I would really like convenient access to ligatures in my word processing software. Unfortunately, none of the major text editing applications appears to handle ligatures intelligently: Each of Emacs, Vim, Nano, MS Word, Google Drive, Libre Office, and InDesign type a dumb "ae" when the user presses the a and e keyboard keys, whereas historically this sequence is typically rendered with the ash æ rune.

I am able to work around this limitation in most applications by configuring TextExpander (macOS, Windows) or autokey (Linux) to match the keyboard sequence "ae" and replace this with "æ". This allows most UTF-8 compatible graphical software, from Web browsers to document editors, to correctly insert æ in place of ae. However, traditional text editors including Emacs, Vim, and Nano are evidently NOT able to handle a literal æ rune insertion, and tend to raise a generic error message when the text expander application attempts to insert this key. This may be a result of a conflict between shell encodings (need UTF-8 everywhere, though I'm currently typing this with a bare Windows COMSPEC command prompt session). In any case, it stinks that the user cannot easily insert ligatures into text editors, so copying & pasting from Wikipedia via the OS clipboard appears to be one of the more (in)convenient options for accessing ligatures. We can do better!

--
Cheers,
Andrew

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Re: Neither Emacs nor Vim nor Nano handle ligature literal insertion well

Gary Johnson-4
On 2018-02-02, Andrew Pennebaker wrote:

> I would really like convenient access to ligatures in my word processing
> software. Unfortunately, none of the major text editing applications appears to
> handle ligatures intelligently: Each of Emacs, Vim, Nano, MS Word, Google
> Drive, Libre Office, and InDesign type a dumb "ae" when the user presses the a
> and e keyboard keys, whereas historically this sequence is typically rendered
> with the ash æ rune.

    :imap ae <C-K>ae

See

    :help 24.9

Regards,
Gary

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Re: Neither Emacs nor Vim nor Nano handle ligature literal insertion well

Erik Christiansen
In reply to this post by Andrew Pennebaker
On 02.02.18 16:31, Andrew Pennebaker wrote:
> I would really like convenient access to ligatures in my word processing
> software. Unfortunately, none of the major text editing applications
> appears to handle ligatures intelligently: Each of Emacs, Vim, Nano, MS
> Word, Google Drive, Libre Office, and InDesign type a dumb "ae" when the
> user presses the a and e keyboard keys, whereas historically this sequence
> is typically rendered with the ash æ rune.

OK, but Vim handles all sorts of ligatures quite elegantly.
(See :h digraphs , and to list them :digraphs)
Granted, when I write emails in Danish, it quickly becomes tedious to
type ^Kae for æ, so I have the following mappings:

" Mapping Style:
:let mapleader = ";"

" Mapping åæø and «» is handier than digraphs:
inoremap <expr> <Leader>a "\uE5"
inoremap <expr> <Leader>e "\uE6"
inoremap <expr> <Leader>o "\uF8"
inoremap <expr> <A-<> "\uAB"
inoremap <expr> <A->> "\uBB"

Now ;e gives æ, ;a gives å, and ;o gives ø. While it's only one double
keystroke less, the typing style is much more natural and fully
mnemonic. Using <A-e> instead of <Leader>e would reduce it to one double
keystroke, but I find it mnemonically convenient to reserve the alt key
for more broadly transformative actions. If you need a literal ;e, as
in these examples, then ^V;e makes the semicolon literal.

If you need thorn, it's ^Kth, giving þ. Also useful is ^K2S when needing
e.g. m², and ^K+- for ±.

So it's all there, and has been for at least one decade, probably
two. And with mappings, convenience can be amplified.

Erik

--
When printing with movable type was invented around 1450, typefaces included
many ligatures and additional letters, such as the letter þ (thorn) which was
first substituted in English with y (e.g. ye olde shoppe), but later written as
th. - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ligature_%28typography%29

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Re: Neither Emacs nor Vim nor Nano handle ligature literal insertion well

Tony Mechelynck
In reply to this post by Gary Johnson-4
On Fri, Feb 2, 2018 at 11:47 PM, Gary Johnson <[hidden email]> wrote:

> On 2018-02-02, Andrew Pennebaker wrote:
>
>> I would really like convenient access to ligatures in my word processing
>> software. Unfortunately, none of the major text editing applications appears to
>> handle ligatures intelligently: Each of Emacs, Vim, Nano, MS Word, Google
>> Drive, Libre Office, and InDesign type a dumb "ae" when the user presses the a
>> and e keyboard keys, whereas historically this sequence is typically rendered
>> with the ash æ rune.
>
>     :imap ae <C-K>ae
>
> See
>
>     :help 24.9
>
> Regards,
> Gary

No need for a mapping, it is a standard binding if yout Vim is
compiled with +digraphs

Or you can use a keymap. Maybe there is one already, but if there
isn't, you can make one yourself, see
http://vim.wikia.com/wiki/How_to_make_a_keymap

Best regards,
Tony.

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Re: Neither Emacs nor Vim nor Nano handle ligature literal insertion well

Gary Johnson-4
On 2018-02-03, Tony Mechelynck wrote:

> On Fri, Feb 2, 2018 at 11:47 PM, Gary Johnson wrote:
> > On 2018-02-02, Andrew Pennebaker wrote:
> >
> >> I would really like convenient access to ligatures in my word processing
> >> software. Unfortunately, none of the major text editing applications appears to
> >> handle ligatures intelligently: Each of Emacs, Vim, Nano, MS Word, Google
> >> Drive, Libre Office, and InDesign type a dumb "ae" when the user presses the a
> >> and e keyboard keys, whereas historically this sequence is typically rendered
> >> with the ash ć rune.
> >
> >     :imap ae <C-K>ae
> >
> > See
> >
> >     :help 24.9
> >
> > Regards,
> > Gary
>
> No need for a mapping, it is a standard binding if yout Vim is
> compiled with +digraphs

Mine are compiled with +diagraphs, but the two-character sequence ae
is not automatically translated to ć.  That only happens if I prefix
ae with Ctrl-K.  I understood the OP to want ae to be translated to
ć without having to type anything else.

Regards,
Gary

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Re: Neither Emacs nor Vim nor Nano handle ligature literal insertion well

Lifepillar
In reply to this post by Andrew Pennebaker
On 02/02/2018 23:31, Andrew Pennebaker wrote:

> Hello,
>
> I would really like convenient access to ligatures in my word processing
> software. Unfortunately, none of the major text editing applications
> appears to handle ligatures intelligently: Each of Emacs, Vim, Nano, MS
> Word, Google Drive, Libre Office, and InDesign type a dumb "ae" when the
> user presses the a and e keyboard keys, whereas historically this
> sequence is typically rendered with the ash æ rune.
>
> I am able to work around this limitation in most applications by
> configuring TextExpander (macOS, Windows) or autokey (Linux) to match
> the keyboard sequence "ae" and replace this with "æ". This allows most
> UTF-8 compatible graphical software, from Web browsers to document
> editors, to correctly insert æ in place of ae. However, traditional text
> editors including Emacs, Vim, and Nano are evidently NOT able to handle
> a literal æ rune insertion, and tend to raise a generic error message
> when the text expander application attempts to insert this key.

Besides what others have suggested, on macOS I'd recommend Ukelele
(http://scripts.sil.org/ukelele). It allows you to easily define your
own system-wide keyboard layouts. According to the web site: "Ukelele
can assign multiple-character strings and can create "dead keys", where
a keystroke sets a new state that modifies the output of the following
keystroke."

Hope this helps,
Life.

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