In the last weeks I tried to work with LaTeX hyphenation functionality.

    .es8t .ex1a2 .ex3em .fal6sc .fe6st5a .flu4g3 .furch8 .ga6ner .ge3n4a
\n{.ge5r"o} .ges6 .halb5

so I found out that the beginning or end of a word in hyphenation patterns is marked by a period. But I didn't find out and want to ask what the double quote character is standing for and why many patterns are written with new line commands.

1 Answer 1


You should have mentioned in which pattern file you found the commands. I guess you are looking at dehyphn.tex. In this case "o means ö. And the \n is used to hide patterns with non-ascii content when the patterns are used together with some older tex-versions. You find the relevant code before the \pattern command:

\ifnum`\@=`\^^40 % true => TeX 3.x
\else  % For TeX 2:

Addition: The purpose of \c is described in line 133 ff. The argument of \c provides additional patterns for OT1-fonts (where the ß is at another position). If you look at the patterns you can see that \c copies the pattern before: a6bla\3 \c{a6bla\9} but replace the command (! not the number!) \3 with the command \9. As with \n you can disable this additional patterns by redefining \c.

  • Yes my example is from dehyphn.tex file. There are few other commands like \c{e8\9es} . In the description at the end of this document \c is discribed as lower case letter but this does make no sense. So could it be that this command is the special sign cedille and how can it be that two digits are written side by side without letter between them.
    – user15718
    Jun 18, 2012 at 11:22
  • See the edit of my answer. Jun 18, 2012 at 11:59

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