[XeTeX] Whoever said quotation-marks are unimportant?

Wilfred van Rooijen wvanrooijen at yahoo.com
Mon Jul 28 16:23:51 CEST 2008

Hi all,

> As an argument against that many full stops, I'd point
> to the fact  
> that there wasn't even such a thing as the full stop in
> the early days  
> of written Latin (and other languages?), where they wrote
> in caps and  
> knew when sentences ended by the placement of the verb.

Oww, my classically trained heart aches. I don't remember of Latin uses full stops on a normal basis, but the location of the verb in a Latin sentence (or Greek, for that matter) is pretty free, but with a preference to have the verb as the last word of the sentence. But especially in ACI-constructions the location of the infinitive can be anywhere:

Ceterum censeo Carthaginem delendam esse

is just as valid as

Censeo ceterum esse Carthaginem delendam

but of course the first one is more aesthetically and rhetorically pleasing because of the alliteration. In Latin, the grammatic and syntactic relation between the words in the sentence is determined by the cases (nominativus, accusativus, ablativus, vocativus, etc). Upon reading the sentence, once you have seen the subject, object and verb, you can pretty much infer that the next nominativus indicates a new sentence.

In my Latin textbooks in high school there were full stops, commas and quotation marks in Seneca, Tacitus, Ovidius, and also in Homerus, Plato, Euripides etc but those may have been later additions. Never forget that the formal Latin one sees on buildings, temples and churches is a very formal form of the language, featuring more abbreviations than you and I know, because chiseling all those letters into marble is hard work. The Pantheon in Rome has:


meaning Marcus Agrippa, Lucii filius, consul tertium fecit (Marcus Agrippa, son of Lucius, built this when he was third-time consul).



> Obviously, that wouldn't work for English :) but I like
> to think of  
> full stops as indicators of the end of sentences when
> it's otherwise  
> not clear. In your case above "Good morning,
> Dave." is clearly a  
> single unit so the full stop, while not incorrect
> logically, is a  
> little redundant.
> The other reason is that we don't want to fill up the
> page with lots  
> of little marks. It's a bit busy, typographically.
> Which is the  
> primary reason I like to use single quote marks as much as
> possible;  
> "`good morning'" is less intrusive than
> "``good morning''". The one  
> exception is in ascii, where I can't get out of the
> habit of using  
> double quotes.
> Any scheme anyone chooses to use should be consistent
> first, pleasing  
> to them second, and "correct to the standards"
> third. In my opinion :)
> Will_______________________________________________
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