Re: “book end” or <enclosing characters> in most languages?

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Thu May 29 2003 - 09:10:02 EDT

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    From: "Ben Dougall" <>
    > On Wednesday, May 28, 2003, at 06:59 pm, Otto Stolz wrote:
    > > PS. In these tow languages, the quote-marks are paired thusly:
    > > en_US: U+201C ... U+201D, and U+2018 ... U+2019
    > > de_DE: U+201E ... U+201C, and U+201A ... U+2018
    > are they the right way round? so in german it'd be:
    > otto said „So, there is not comprehensive list of openers vs. closers
    > possible.“

    Interestingly, the French first-level quotation marks use what we call "chevrons" (double angle brackets). However there are some typographical considerations that common fonts forget when they design these characters:

    They are normally as tall as lowercase letters, the angle brackets should not be acute, but still kerned (and not displayed as two separate angle brackets), and their bottom base should be aligned with the baseline of the Latin script.

    I see some implementation differences, and wonder if this is the same quotation marks when they appear aligned with the ascent of uppercase letters, where they mostly ressemble to comma-style double quotation marks...

    French usage of these quotation marks is interesting: when a quotation spans several paragraphs, each paragraph starts with a quotation mark, but only the last one is terminated by the mirrored mark. These marks should not be used when the quotation is not a sentence but just a small expression that cannot be uniquely attributed to a given author. In that case the comma-style double quotation marks are used...

    After the first-level which is very language dependant, the extra levels of quotations generally adopt a common hierarchy of marks. In French, we use then the double 6-chaped upper reversed commas for the second-level starting mark, and the upper 9-shaped commas for the the second-level ending mark, and the convention on paragraphs still applies to them, so they are not always "paired" because thre may be multiple opening marks for a single ending mark; the repetition of the opening mark allows a better typographic alignment of paragraphs, and acts as a visual mnemonic that the paragraph is still part of a longer quotation, and not a sentence from the document's author).

    There is also a traditional hierarchy of quotation marks styles, when quotations must be embedded. The first level must use the traditional usage of the main language used in the quotation. Small inclusions of untranslated words or titles are generally written with italic letters if it uses the same script family as the main language; this convention does not apply to other scripts that do not support easily an italic or oblique style (such as Han, Hangul, Arabic, Hebrew, and most Brahmic scripts), whose identification as an untranslated foreign language is implicit from their distinct script, and where an italic/oblique style would be difficult to read.

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