[tex-live] clash between babel (french), hyperref and \cite on keys with a colon character

Robin Fairbairns Robin.Fairbairns at cl.cam.ac.uk
Mon Sep 22 16:55:24 CEST 2014

Vincent Lefevre <vincent at vinc17.net> wrote:

> On 2014-09-22 16:05:20 +0200, Zdenek Wagner wrote:
> > 2014-09-22 15:44 GMT+02:00 Vincent Lefevre <vincent at vinc17.net>:
> > > There's a clash between babel (french), hyperref and \cite on keys
> > > with a colon character. This can be seen on:
> > >
> > This is not a TeX Live issue but babel issue.
> That's confusing because in Debian, babel is part of TeX Live
> (texlive-base source package).

however, tex live, per se, has no means of mending coding bugs (or
effects), so it's futile to assign such a fault to tex live.

> > The problem is that double punctuation (colon, semicolon, question
> > mark, exclamation mark) need different spacing in French than in
> > other languages, therefore these characters are active. Once you
> > load the french module, they remain active even if you switch to
> > another language.
> Well, what I can see is that switching the language solves the
> problem (whether these characters remain active or not, I don't
> know, but at least the problem is solved).

when you switch languages, the specialisations for one are entirely
replaced with those for the other.  so this is expected.

> > I am afraid that it is not an easy tast to change it and it is
> > considered rather a feature, not a bug.
> I can hardly see why it is a feature.

it is a feature because it's insoluble when using tex or latex.

it's possibly soluble under xelatex, but there's an alternative
(polyglossia) for use with xelatex.

> > You will have the same problems with other characters in other
> > languages.
> One important point is that colon can be seen in various BibTeX
> files, and is generated by some export tools.

quite so.  the situation is not satisfactory ... and never has been
satisfactory.  i've not tried multilingual typesetting with either of
the `new' engines, but my guess is that "practical" use in future is
going to require xelatex or lualatex.

robin fairbairns
(whose written french is rather feeble...)

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