Lars Huttar wrote:

> 
> Thanks for the explanation.
> I hope that when the manual is finished it will make this clearer.
> Currently, the draft chapter says
> "As will be explained later, the command \rm is used to switch to a
> roman/serif/regular style"
> which does not seem to be happening.

I think it is due to a difference in terminology between (plain) TeX and 
ConTeXt.

Knuth uses "roman" to mean "with serifs and not slanted" while ConTeXt 
uses it to mean just "not sans serif".  So something like

aardvark {\it aardvark {\rm aardvark}}

is really doing something like:

- Set "aardvark" in the default face (which is probably an unslanted serif)
- Switch to the italic "flavor" of the default face, which here means a 
traditional italic
- While in the italic flavor, switch to a roman "base".  But we already 
had a roman "base" so this doesn't change anything: we are still slanted 
because of the enclosing \it.

"Roman" and "italic" are on different axes and can be changed independently.


However, things are different if we start off in a sans serif face, like

\ss aardvark {\it aardvark {\rm aardvark}}

Now the \it still gives slanted text, but since the "base" is sans serif 
we don't get the traditional "italic" appearance that corresponds to a 
roman "base".  The nested \rm now does that.

(Note: my terminology is all wrong.  "Base" and "flavor" aren't the 
right terms at all, but I cannot remember the correct terms right now. 
I would be grateful is someone could correct me.)

Cheers,
Rory



> 
> The explanation of \em shows that ConTeXt's \em has different behavior
> from Plain TeX's \it (especially when nesting styles), but doesn't say
> that \it or \rm have changed behavior.
> 
> Lars
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