[texhax] TeX hyphenation -- why do so many words get no hyphens

Pierre MacKay mackay at cs.washington.edu
Thu Aug 5 04:06:21 CEST 2004

Steve Tolkin's list is rather a challenge, and suggests that even the
patterns should be looked at again.  I do not remember what hyphenation
list was used to start the generation of hyphen.tex, but it seems to
have missed some real possibilities.  

     I run the risk of being shown up again as careless, but here is
my suggestion of patterns that might be safe (I have tried \showhyphens{}
on many of them to confirm that they are in truth not hyphenated.  Could 
it be that processor speed had something to do with a conservatism that
left many of the rarer possibilities out?)

whether achieved promised spokesman wid{e-spr}ead database briefly princess
medicine surgery singing stronger sergeant lawyers guardian marginal
refugees painful overnight essence tragedy monopoly molecules evenings
sovereign t{ime-t}able lifestyle strongest marathon salaries man{u-scr}ipt
(manu-script ought to be in the exceptions list in any case, rescript gets a hyphen!)
lun{ch-t}ime providers archives aerospace headache ba{nk-r}upt li{ght-w}eight
paramount galaxy whe{el-cha}ir exquisite paradigm volatile po{st-scr}ipt
metaphors takeovers labyrinth stro{ng-h}old monotonous grievance
(stronghold may actually be risky)
foothold fledg-ling prostaglandin trichloroethylenes

It ought to be pretty safe to make hypo, para, and even epi and apo
into pre-hyphen groups tied to start-of-word.

There are at least some consonant clusters here that could probably be
included in the patterns.  I have tried, for instance, to think of any
word that would be mishandled by making the "scr" grouping follow a
hyphen after any consonant.  Perhaps there is one. In any case,
all these words ought to be at least in the exceptions list.  At
present-day processor speeds, a larger exceptions list should
not be an impediment.  

I find it interesting that I have run into so few problems of this sort
in ten years of professional typesetting.  But I still think that
we might propose improvements in hyphens.tex to Don Knuth.

Pierre MacKay

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