[XeTeX] Typographic question : quotation marks and apostrophes

Tobias Schoel liesdiedatei at googlemail.com
Sat Dec 17 11:34:16 CET 2011

On 15.12.2011 22:27, Jonathan Kew wrote:
> On 15 Dec 2011, at 19:54, Peter Baker wrote:
>> On 12/15/11 2:34 PM, Jonathan Kew wrote:
>>> Not particularly relevant. The "full stop" or "period" that ends a sentence is semantically different from the "decimal point" that punctuates numbers. That doesn't mean we have separate character codes for them. From a character-encoding point of view, they're the same character; they just happen to have multiple uses.
>>> JK
>> Just now I'm holding a book printed London 1960: like most English books printed at the time it uses single curly quotes for quotations. But also like most older printed books (at least back to the eighteenth century), the *spacing* of quotation marks and apostrophes is quite different, the closing quotation mark having a much wider left sidebearing than the apostrophe when it follows an alphabetic character (there's less space when it follows a mark of punctuation).
>> You don't often find this kind of spacing in contemporary books, but it's hard even to have the option to do this kind of old-fashioned typography when the apostophe and the closing quotation mark are the same glyph. We'd have to kern each instance manually.
>> From a Unicode point of view, if you want to represent this distinction at a plain-text level, one option might be to insert a suitable space character (e.g. U+202F narrow no-break space) before the "closing-quote" instances of U+2019, but not before the "apostrophe" instances. That's no more difficult than it would be to insert a different character code for the two usages.
> This reminds me of the French convention whereby a space is often inserted before punctuation such as :, ? or !. I've often felt that this should really be implemented as a language-specific variant of the punctuation glyph (or language-specific kerning) in OpenType fonts, but in practice I usually see it done by inserting a non-breaking space (or something similar) within the text.
> JK

So we're back to the days, where one had to use escape sequences for 
quotation marks (\glq,\grq,"',"`,…) as though unicode had not included 

Even worse, because with OpenType some font designers might include 
substitution rules which include white space at font level. So, as an 
author, I have to bear in mind, that for one font I need to define 
\englishrightquote as u202f+u2019, and for other for another font I need 
to define it simply as u2019. (In German, it might be simpler, because 
u2018 is used, but which font designer adds white space to u2018, but 
not to u2019?)

So I think, I will use u2018 and so on for quotation marks, u0027 as an 

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