Re: Punctuation character (inverted interrobang) proposed

From: Benj. Mako Hill (
Date: Fri Sep 09 2005 - 12:44:18 CDT

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    <quote who="John Hudson" date="Mon, Sep 05, 2005 at 06:40:50PM -0700">
    > >It does seem to be true that Israeli typesetting uses ?! more frequently
    > >than proper English typesetting does. So I guess it's not necessarily
    > >so "ungrammatical" to everyone.
    > Sure it is. Using the interrobang or the sequence ?! to 'indicate some
    > level of amazed incredulity' is what might be termed expressive typography.
    > It is on par with emoticons like ;-) What distinguishes punctuation marks
    > proper from such expressive signs is their connection to grammar, i.e. to
    > the linguistic structures of a language.
    > I have no major objection to the existence and use of the interrobang in
    > this expressive way, and more than I object to Japanese schoolgirls dotting
    > their i's with hearts. What I'm objecting to is the claim that it is a
    > 'punctuation mark', which implies a grammatical function. Insofar as the
    > interrobang confuses the two distinct grammatical constructions normally
    > distinguished by the question and exclamation marks, one could call it an
    > anti-punctuation mark; it actually diminishes the grammatical information
    > available to the reader.

    Why does the fact that the exclamation point and the question mark are
    distinct have to mean that they are mutually exclusive? Similarly, I
    think you are setting up a false dichotomy here -- punctuation can be
    (and in the interrobang and exclamation point's case *is* IMHO) both
    expressive and grammatical.

    Of course, lets not forget that the original interrobang is already in
    Unicode. As other have said, it only makes sense to include the
    inverted version as well so it can also be used in Spanish, etc.


    Benjamin Mako Hill

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