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5.8 Manipulating Hyphenation

Here a description of requests that influence hyphenation.

Request: .hy [mode]
Register: \n[.hy]

Enable hyphenation. The request has an optional numeric argument, mode, to restrict hyphenation if necessary:

1

The default argument if mode is omitted. Hyphenate without restrictions. This is also the start-up value of gtroff.

2

Do not hyphenate the last word on a page or column.

4

Do not hyphenate the last two characters of a word.

8

Do not hyphenate the first two characters of a word.

Values in the previous table are additive. For example, the value 12 causes gtroff to neither hyphenate the last two nor the first two characters of a word.

The current hyphenation restrictions can be found in the read-only number register ‘.hy’.

The hyphenation mode is associated with the current environment (see Environments).

Request: .nh

Disable hyphenation (i.e., set the hyphenation mode to zero). Note that the hyphenation mode of the last call to hy is not remembered.

The hyphenation mode is associated with the current environment (see Environments).

Request: .hlm [nnn]
Register: \n[.hlm]
Register: \n[.hlc]

Set the maximum number of consecutive hyphenated lines to nnn. If this number is negative, there is no maximum. The default value is -1 if nnn is omitted. This value is associated with the current environment (see Environments). Only lines output from a given environment count towards the maximum associated with that environment. Hyphens resulting from \% are counted; explicit hyphens are not.

The current setting of hlm is available in the .hlm read-only number register. Also the number of immediately preceding consecutive hyphenated lines are available in the read-only number register ‘.hlc’.

Request: .hw word1 word2 …

Define how word1, word2, etc. are to be hyphenated. The words must be given with hyphens at the hyphenation points. For example:

.hw in-sa-lub-rious

Besides the space character, any character whose hyphenation code value is zero can be used to separate the arguments of hw (see the documentation for the hcode request below for more information). In addition, this request can be used more than once.

Hyphenation exceptions specified with the hw request are associated with the current hyphenation language; it causes an error if there is no current hyphenation language.

This request is ignored if there is no parameter.

In old versions of troff there was a limited amount of space to store such information; fortunately, with gtroff, this is no longer a restriction.

Escape: \%
Escape: \:

To tell gtroff how to hyphenate words on the fly, use the \% escape, also known as the hyphenation character. Preceding a word with this character prevents it from being hyphenated; putting it inside a word indicates to gtroff that the word may be hyphenated at that point. Note that this mechanism only affects that one occurrence of the word; to change the hyphenation of a word for the entire document, use the hw request.

The \: escape inserts a zero-width break point (that is, the word breaks but without adding a hyphen).

... check the /var/log/\:httpd/\:access_log file ...

Note that \X and \Y start a word, that is, the \% escape in (say) ‘\X'...'\%foobar and ‘\Y'...'\%foobar no longer prevents hyphenation but inserts a hyphenation point at the beginning of ‘foobar’; most likely this isn’t what you want to do.

Request: .hc [char]

Change the hyphenation character to char. This character then works the same as the \% escape, and thus, no longer appears in the output. Without an argument, hc resets the hyphenation character to be \% (the default) only.

The hyphenation character is associated with the current environment (see Environments).

Request: .hpf pattern_file
Request: .hpfa pattern_file
Request: .hpfcode a b [c d …]

Read in a file of hyphenation patterns. This file is searched for in the same way as name.tmac (or tmac.name) is searched for if the -mname option is specified.

It should have the same format as (simple) TeX patterns files. More specifically, the following scanning rules are implemented.

If no hpf request is specified (either in the document or in a macro package), gtroff won’t hyphenate at all.

The hpfa request appends a file of patterns to the current list.

The hpfcode request defines mapping values for character codes in hyphenation patterns. hpf or hpfa then apply the mapping (after reading the patterns) before replacing or appending them to the current list of patterns. Its arguments are pairs of character codes – integers from 0 to 255. The request maps character code a to code b, code c to code d, and so on. You can use character codes that would be invalid otherwise. By default, everything maps to itself except letters ‘A’ to ‘Z’, which map to ‘a’ to ‘z’.

The set of hyphenation patterns is associated with the current language set by the hla request. The hpf request is usually invoked by the troffrc or troffrc-end file; by default, troffrc loads hyphenation patterns and exceptions for American English (in files hyphen.us and hyphenex.us).

A second call to hpf (for the same language) replaces the hyphenation patterns with the new ones.

Invoking hpf causes an error if there is no current hyphenation language.

Request: .hcode c1 code1 [c2 code2 …]

Set the hyphenation code of character c1 to code1, that of c2 to code2, etc. A hyphenation code must be a single input character (not a special character) other than a digit or a space.

To make hyphenation work, hyphenation codes must be set up. At start-up, groff only assigns hyphenation codes to the letters ‘a’-‘z’ (mapped to themselves) and to the letters ‘A’-‘Z’ (mapped to ‘a’-‘z’); all other hyphenation codes are set to zero. Normally, hyphenation patterns contain only lowercase letters, which should be applied regardless of case. In other words, the words ‘FOO’ and ‘Foo’ should be hyphenated exactly the same way as the word ‘foo’ is hyphenated, and this is what hcode is good for. Words that contain other letters won’t be hyphenated properly if the corresponding hyphenation patterns actually do contain them. For example, the following hcode requests are necessary to assign hyphenation codes to the letters ‘’ (this is needed for German):

.hcode     
.hcode     
.hcode     
.hcode  

Without those assignments, groff treats German words like ‘Kindergrten’ (the plural form of ‘kindergarten’) as two substrings ‘kinderg’ and ‘rten’ because the hyphenation code of the umlaut a is zero by default. There is a German hyphenation pattern that covers ‘kinder’, so groff finds the hyphenation ‘kin-der’. The other two hyphenation points (‘kin-der-gr-ten’) are missed.

This request is ignored if it has no parameter.

Request: .hym [length]
Register: \n[.hym]

Set the (right) hyphenation margin to length. If the current adjustment mode is not ‘b’ or ‘n’, the line is not hyphenated if it is shorter than length. Without an argument, the hyphenation margin is reset to its default value, which is 0. The default scaling indicator for this request is ‘m’. The hyphenation margin is associated with the current environment (see Environments).

A negative argument resets the hyphenation margin to zero, emitting a warning of type ‘range’.

The current hyphenation margin is available in the .hym read-only number register.

Request: .hys [hyphenation_space]
Register: \n[.hys]

Set the hyphenation space to hyphenation_space. If the current adjustment mode is ‘b’ or ‘n’, don’t hyphenate the line if it can be justified by adding no more than hyphenation_space extra space to each word space. Without argument, the hyphenation space is set to its default value, which is 0. The default scaling indicator for this request is ‘m’. The hyphenation space is associated with the current environment (see Environments).

A negative argument resets the hyphenation space to zero, emitting a warning of type ‘range’.

The current hyphenation space is available in the .hys read-only number register.

Request: .shc [glyph]

Set the soft hyphen character to glyph.14 If the argument is omitted, the soft hyphen character is set to the default glyph \(hy (this is the start-up value of gtroff also). The soft hyphen character is the glyph that is inserted when a word is hyphenated at a line break. If the soft hyphen character does not exist in the font of the character immediately preceding a potential break point, then the line is not broken at that point. Neither definitions (specified with the char request) nor translations (specified with the tr request) are considered when finding the soft hyphen character.

Request: .hla language
Register: \n[.hla]

Set the current hyphenation language to the string language. Hyphenation exceptions specified with the hw request and hyphenation patterns specified with the hpf and hpfa requests are both associated with the current hyphenation language. The hla request is usually invoked by the troffrc or the troffrc-end files; troffrc sets the default language to ‘us’.

The current hyphenation language is available as a string in the read-only number register ‘.hla’.

.ds curr_language \n[.hla]
\*[curr_language]
    ⇒ us

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