Re: Latin-1's apostrophe, grave accent, acute accent

From: Roozbeh Pournader (
Date: Sun Aug 01 1999 - 21:27:59 EDT

On Sun, 1 Aug 1999, Markus Kuhn wrote:

> ... In addition, in the
> Unix community, it has become somewhat common practice to abuse (as
> sanctioned by the old ANSI 7-bit ASCII standard) the APOSTROPHE and
> GRAVE as closing and opening quotation marks, as in `quotation'.

I think this should be a legacy of TeX, since it uses GRAVE as a left
quote and APOSTROPHE as a right quote. I'm almost sure the Unix community
took it from the community using both Unix and TeX. (BTW, in our
university there are still some VT420 terminals made by DEC which some
students still use. Their GRAVE looks exactly like a left-quote and their
APOSTROPHE is a right-quote. The effect of that misuse is a very
beautifully quoted phrase like what you can see in a printed book.)

> + will not require modification of software that currently
> writes `quotation' (many GNU tools, e.g. gcc error messages)
> and of the habits of some plaintext authors who prefer to
> write `quotation' instead of 'quotation'

As I mentioned, in many programs, it is not habit, it's in the program
features. So many Unix tools may rely on them.

> - require eventually a tiny modification in some Unix software and
> user habits to write 'quote' instead of `quote', or preferably
> even use U+2018/U+2019 one day instead, if they *really*
> want to have proper directional quotation marks.

Ok, one day, but not with current keyboards. And these software sometimes
cannot be made intelligent enough to handle that. In TeX case for
example, it's not a nice job, as you should make these two characters
"active" ones which is not considered good.

> People are also free to abuse GRAVE and ACUTE
> as symmetrical quotation marks in Latin-1: `quotationŽ, which
> should guarantee symmetrical glyphs.

Ok, but are you sure they have Latin-1? They want to misuse it in ASCII!!
Think of those many ISO-8859-x users, who really like to misuse them. :)


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Tue Jul 10 2001 - 17:20:50 EDT