Re: double hyphen

From: Antoine Leca (
Date: Tue Mar 08 2005 - 06:23:13 CST

  • Next message: Andrew C. West: "Re: Encoded rendering instructions (was Unicode's Mandate)"

    On Monday, March 7th, 2005 08:47Z Patrick Andries va escriure:

    > BTW, the "cleverness" of some software that replace this « - - »
    > into an emdash presents more problem today in France since a new
    > family name decree has become law.

    Is it really a _decree_?

    I can find two laws (2002-304 dated March 4th with its decree 2004-1159
    dated October 29th, law modified by the law 2003-516 dated June 18th), but
    none of these texts makes any reference to this double hyphens (as a general
    matter, French law does not prescribe how one can or should actually write

    There is indeed an administrative prescription (circulaire CIV/18/04 from no
    less than four ministeries jointly) that indeed references this, and this
    urges the use of these "double hyphen" (not its actual name).
    Yet I understand that a prescription (which can be changed at any time) is
    not enough "legal stuff" to have any variation in an International Standard
    such as Unicode; it is little more than current usage. Furthermore, if its
    application results impractical (because of the very fact you are pointing
    out, combined with the tendancy from some word processors to /cleverly/
    modify what is typed to make it "better"), we can bet than the prescription
    will be modified, toward another format.

    Yet the basic point is correct: there is right now in France an important
    (from a legal point of view) distinction between a single hyphen (whatever
    its length), which is unbreakable when it comes to descendants, and two
    grouped hyphens, used as a separator, which is and should be break when

    I have yet to see the relevant typographical recommendations regarding the
    hyphenation of the result, or the length of the used hyphens (I guess normal
    en-dashes will not result very pleasant, third-em-dash or quarter-em-dash
    will probably look better; but this is entirely my divagation.)

    On Monday, March 7th 2005 14:36Z Jukka K. Korpela asked:
    > (That would be somewhat vague too, since they might not have
    > considered the differences between hyphen-minus, minus, and
    > nonbreaking hyphen.) But is it really the en dash, or the dash, or
    > just some dash-like character (pair?) of unspecified length and
    > identity?

    This one can be decided with the present informations.

    The prescription is mainly to apply to the officers in charge of
    registration of names (and birth, wedding, etc.) So the field of application
    is clearly people with a typewriter (or a computer mimicking it), and
    (mainly) with a French keyboard layout. Since the only hyphen-like character
    there is U+002D (as per general consensus of the OS vendors), the new thingy
    should be encoded <U+002D, U+002D>.

    You have another indication in the text of the circulary (sorry, I will not
    translate it since it does not matter a lot):

        * Le double nom, constitué par le nom accolé de chacun des
         parents, est identifiable par le séparateur « - - » placé
         entre le nom issu de la branche paternelle et celui issu de
         la lignée maternelle qui le forment.

         Ce séparateur « - - » doit être mentionné sur ses actes de
         l'état civil. A l'instar du simple tiret, ce signe n'a de
         manifestation qu'à l'écrit et ne se prononce pas.

    As Patrick, I have inserted a space between the two hyphens to avoid
    confusion; there are none initially.


    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Tue Mar 08 2005 - 06:26:48 CST