[XeTeX] Typographic question : quotation marks and apostrophes

William Adams will.adams at frycomm.com
Thu Dec 22 15:11:11 CET 2011

On Dec 22, 2011, at 3:01 AM, Andrew Brown wrote:

> My target was really off in another direction, William -- we have digitized the characters that compose our words, but not the words themselves, so we remain unable to understand their meaning without examining the context, and perhaps not even then. A trivial example : every morning, a French service indexing auction sales offers me the chance to bid on one or more armchairs, known here as Voltaires, when all I want are books by or representations of the man.

That can be handled by XML markup --- from a current project:

<Personnel aid:pstyle="Personnel"><title>Pres: </title><firstname>James</firstname> <surname>Dudley</surname></Personnel>

> On the quotes front, one answer, generally inapplicable, is to move away from Anglo-Saxonia and to use « and », and double quotes within quotations. Most programs handle that automatically now.

TEI's explicit markup is much better since it allows one to seamlessly choose the quote _representation_ at output time so as to facilitate regional variations (and avoid issues like the incorrect single quote near the end of my wife's copy of _The Hobbit_). Want guillemets? specify them at output time --- one can even choose their directionality to match German or French or Finnish preferences.


William Adams
senior graphic designer
Fry Communications
Sphinx of black quartz, judge my vow.

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