Posts filled under #_

An extract on #_

The double quotation mark is older than the single. It derives from a marginal notation used in fifteenth-century manuscript annotations to indicate a passage of particular importance (not necessarily a quotation); the notation was placed in the outside margin of the page and was repeated alongside each line of the passage. By the middle sixteenth century, printers (notably in Basel, Switzerland) had developed a typographic form of this notation, resembling the modern double quotation mark pointing to the right. During the seventeenth century this treatment became specific to quoted material, and it grew common, especially in Britain, to print quotation marks (now in the modern opening and closing forms) at beginning and end of the quotation as well as in the margin; the French usage (see under Specific language features below) is a survival of this. In most other languages, including English, the marginal marks dropped out of use in the last years of the eighteenth century. The usage of a pair of marks, closing and opening, at the level of lower case letters was generalized. By the nineteenth century, the design and usage began to be specific within each region. In Western Europe the usage became to use the quotation marks in pairs but "pointing" outside. In Britain those marks were elevated to the same height of the top of capital letters (). In France, by the end of the nineteenth century those marks were modified to a more angular shape (). Some authors claim that the reason for this was a practical one, in order to get a character that was clearly distinguishable from the apostrophes, the commas and the parenthesis (also, in other scripts, the angular quotation marks are distinguishable from other punctuation charactersthe Greek breathing marks, the Armenian emphasis and apostrophe, the Arabic comma, decimal separator, thousands separator, etc.). Other authors claim that the reason for this was an aesthetical one. The elevated quotation marks created an extra white space before and after the word that was considered unaesthetical, while the in-line quotation marks helped to maintain the typographical color, since the quotation marks had the same height and were aligned with the lower case letters. Nevertheless, while other languages do not insert a space between the quotation marks and the word(s), the French usage does insert them, even if it is a narrow space. The curved quotation marks () usage was exported to some non-Latin scripts, notably where there was some English influence (for instance, in Indian scripts). The angular quotation marks () usage was exported to some non-Latin scripts, like Greek, Cyrillic, Arabic and Ethiopic. The Far East angle brackets quotation marks () are also a development of the in-line angular quotation marks. In Central Europe, however, the practice was to use the quotation marks in pairs but "pointing" inside. The German tradition preferred the curved quotation marks, the first one at the level of the commas, the second one at the level of the apostrophes (). Alternatively, these marks still "pointed" inside but could be angular and in-line with lower case letters (). Some neighboring regions adopted the German tradition but some others adopted the second (closing) mark as "pointing" to the right (). In Sweden (and Finland), both marks "pointed" to the right but both were at the top level (), neither at the bottom. In Eastern Europe there was a hesitation between the French tradition () and the German tradition (). The French tradition prevailed in North-Eastern Europe (Russia, Ukraine and Belarus), whereas the German tradition (or its modified version with the closing mark pointing to the right) has become dominant in South-Eastern Europe (the Balkan countries). The single quotation mark emerged around 1800 as a means of indicating a secondary level of quotation. One could expect that the logic would be the corresponding single mark everywhere but it was not the case. British English tends to reverse the usagesingle quotation marks () are primary, and double quotation marks () are secondarythis distinction, however, dating back to around the 1960s. In some languages using the angular quotation marks, the usage of single ones () became obsolete, being replaced by double curved ones (); the single ones still survive, for instance, in Switzerland. In Eastern Europe, where there was a hesitation between the French and German tradition, the curved quotation marks () are used as a secondary level when the angular marks () are used as a primary level.