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Unicode Demystified by Richard Gillam

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Character Positioning

Another faulty assumption is the idea that characters are laid out in a neat linear progression running in lines from left to right. In many languages, this isn't true.

Many languages also employ diacritical marks that are used in combination with other characters to indicate pronunciation. Exactly where the marks are drawn can depend on what they're being attached to. For example, look at these two letters:

Each of these examples is the letter a with an umlaut placed on top of it. The umlaut needs to be positioned higher when attached to the capital A than when attached to the small a.

This positioning can be even more complicated ...

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