Re: Proposing a DOUBLE HYPHEN punctuation mark

From: Asmus Freytag (
Date: Mon Jan 22 2007 - 12:19:01 CST

  • Next message: Jon Hanna: "Re: Proposing a DOUBLE HYPHEN punctuation mark"

    On 1/22/2007 6:25 AM, Jon Hanna wrote:
    > Karl Pentzlin wrote:
    >> At (a scan of
    >> Dieter E. Zimmer, Sprache im Zeichen ihrer Unverbesserlichkeit,
    >> Hamburg 2005, p.169), you see a citation of a text from Arno Schmidt.
    >> You see the double hyphen misprinted as an equals sign, due to the lack
    >> of a "double hyphen" proper. But you see the double hyphen is cited
    >> beside
    >> single hyphens within the same text part. This proves that the double
    >> hyphen is really needed not only within the text of the author, but
    >> also when writing about his work e.g. in Germanistic texts.
    > Those of us that aren't familiar with Germanistic texts may need help
    > seeing this "proof". What does the double hyphen mean here? As far as
    > I can see he is differentiating stylistically between hyphen and soft
    > hyphen (there are a good few dashes in the mix also), which is
    > possible with the current character set.
    The double hyphen is placed in the middle of constructs that would
    normally be written without a hyphen of any kind, and the selection of
    these locations were very much a central part of his unique style of

    (The Wikipedia article at ""
    might be illuminating).

    Arno Schmidt is associated with his orthography in German literature
    the way e.e.cummings is associated in American literature with the use
    of lowercase. The fact that he seems to have written for a selection of
    people with an almost academic interest in his obscure corner of German
    literature does not make him any less influential nor any less a subject
    of (lots of) academic work.

    Karl's statement that serious scholars in that sub-field need the double
    hyphen is not as far fetched as it seems. Unification really is the
    wrong answer here. However, adding such a character would mean that we
    sort out whether and where it gets used outside of Schmidt's
    orthography. It may be appropriate for coding the double hyphen shape
    shown in the Gaelic (?) sample (where all hyphens are slanted).

    The rules would be:

    Use the standard hyphen for any shape in a font that is used as a
    standard hyphen without contrast, even if that shape looks like any
    other dash or stacked dash.

    Use the oblique double hyphen in any notation where there is a contrast
    with single hyphen, and the single hyphen is not also oblique in that style.

    Use the double hyphen in any notation where it is in contrast to a
    single hyphen (do *NOT* use equals sign to get an approximate double

    Otherwise, don't use it.
    > How does the double hyphen here differ, as a character, from U+2010 or
    > U+2011?
    None of these are double, and the double hyphen is not "non-breaking" as
    is U+2011


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