Re: apostrophes

From: Jukka K. Korpela (
Date: Tue May 23 2006 - 17:17:27 CDT

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    On Tue, 23 May 2006, Deborah Goldsmith wrote:

    > The data in CLDR is accurate only to the extent that people participate.

    Yes, of course, but the question remains open why the data on quotation
    marks is _so_ wrong. Specifically, why are normal and alternate quotation
    marks reversed in most locales? I cannot believe that people who provided
    the local data got things so consistently wrong. This issue has been
    mentioned before, but I haven't seen any answer.

    There seems to be some confusion around the term "alternate quotation
    marks". Some people apparently think that the term refers to different
    style of quotation marks, alternative quotations marks. (Several languages
    have to sets of quotation marks, one commonly used in books and another
    commonly used in newspapers, office documents, etc.) The misunderstanding
    is understandable, since the term is misleading.

    It would be better to call them "inner quotation marks". This would not
    match the idea of _alternating_ quotation marks, i.e. the idea that you
    have two pairs of quotation marks to be used alternatingly in nested
    quotations. But this would be _good_, because such an idea about
    alternation should be forgotten for now. It is very rarely needed (people
    simply don't use deep nesting of quotations delimited by quotation marks,
    since such presentation would be very confusing). And in those rare cases
    where it would apply, I don't think we can find any reliable,
    consensus-based information about the usage in such matters in different
    languages. I have never seen any norm or recommendation on it for any
    language. Even for _simple_ nesting, i.e. for a quotation inside a
    quotation, reliable information is hard to find, partly because it is a
    rare situation. (If you have a quotation inside a quotation, the outer
    quotation is typically so long that it's better presented as a block
    quotation, without any quotation marks, using e.g. indentation to indicate
    it as quoted text.)

    Jukka "Yucca" Korpela,

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