Re: French group separators

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Mon Jul 07 2003 - 18:35:03 EDT

  • Next message: Michael Everson: "Re: French group separators"

    On Tuesday, July 08, 2003 12:08 AM, Frank da Cruz <> wrote:

    > > It is worth noting that what is described here is the default
    > > running mode of Emacs for the English locale. There are a lot more
    > > "modes" on Emacs to handle various languages (including programming
    > > languages).
    > >
    > Of course. But without two spaces you have greater ambiguity, at
    > least in English: In "Mr. Roberts", what is the function of the
    > period?
    > Don't call me Mr. Roberts is my name.
    > Don't call me Mr. Roberts is my name.
    > The first one seems to be nonsense. The second one is clear and EMACS
    > correctly identifies two sentences; "M-X transpose-sentences" gives:
    > Roberts is my name. Don't call me Mr.
    > - Frank

    This is a typesetting problem, related to the role of the dot as an abbreviation symbol. I could do the same with the French sentences:

        S.v.p., ne m'appelez pas M. Verdy est plus poli.

    Clearly it is two sentences (one sentence would also be clearly interpreted as badly punctuated). One is supposed to understand the text that is read according to its punctuation. Adding a single punctuation can move the end of the sentence to the left:

        S.v.p., ne m'appelez pas. M. Verdy est plus poli.

    Despite this, the normal typesetting of the space after a sentence-ending dot is a single large space, unlike word separating spaces that follow an abbreviation dot symbol. There already exists in Unicode the EM-space or the cadratin for the purpose of typesetting, and it is correctly typesetted to make the difference between those spaces, even after justification. But still there
    would remain an ambiguity that only language understanding can differentiate, if the line wraps at this space:

        S.v.p., ne m'appelez pas M.
        Verdy est plus poli.

        S.v.p., ne m'appelez pas. M.
        Verdy est plus poli.

        S.v.p., ne m'appelez pas.
        M. Verdy est plus poli.

    In all three cases there are two sentences, whatever the number of spaces inserted after a dot...
    Some typesettings use a distinct dot for such usage (with a tiny space inserted before the end of sentence dot, or a bolder dot, looking like a small black square, unlike the abbreiation dot which is tiny and kerned on the left side with the previous letter).

    -- Philippe.

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