Re: Punctuation character (inverted interrobang) proposed

From: John Hudson (
Date: Mon Sep 05 2005 - 16:18:09 CDT

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    Patrick Andries wrote:

    >> I suppose the same goes for Asturian and other minority languages in
    >> Spain, but I have no data. OTOH, I would not be surprised if inverted
    >> punctuation were used in at least some spanish-american minority native
    >> languages, such as Guarany.

    > The question, in this case, would be whether these communities use the
    > inverted interrobang...

    If one is going to encode anything as silly as the interrobang, one should probably encode
    an inverted version. The interrobang was invented by an advertising executive, and is a
    good example of the mindset. It is claimed proudly as 'the only punctuation mark invented
    in America', and it is to the USA that you must look for usage (ignoring the question of
    whether something with no grammatical function should be called a punctuation mark). Even
    in the USA, it has not caught on even among other advertising executives, perhaps because
    it is impossible to design one that doesn't look like poo. Structurally it is contrary to
    the simplicity and openness of all other punctuation marks, so always looks convoluted and
    dark. The fact that copy editors have some residual understanding that an utterance may
    grammatically be either a question or an exclamation, but not both, has kept the
    interrobang out of all but the most ephemeral of text (such as one might see going past on
    the side of a bus).

    But having encoded the daffy interrobang, Unicode should certainly encode the inverted
    version. Not for Asturian, but for American advertisers targeting speakers of the de facto
    second official language of the USA. If even one of them sought to foist the world's only
    non-grammatical punctuation mark on English speakers, one can be sure that another will
    want to inflict it on Latino consumers.

    John Hudson

    Tiro Typeworks
    Vancouver, BC

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