Reason for this kind of double quotation marks

Hello,

I was wondering why the closing double quotation mark of courier looks wrong to me. I heard that type writer fonts based on the original letters of type writer machines are using " for opening and closing speech. Because it was a matter of using as less space as possible so they took just one letter for different uses (sometimes the same thing with zero and the letter O – it was the same on the keyboard). But the double quotation marks of the Courier of Adobe, Monotype and Microsoft are looking like this which is another thing (maybe it is a silly question but I don't know):


Comments

  • Kent LewKent Lew Posts: 882
    edited July 13
    This quote mark, which you view as a closing mark from the German perspective, is considered an opening quotation in English usage.

    There is precedent for such “mirrored” quotes in several 20th century designs originating primarily in America. But this obviously leads to problems for German usage (and other related orthographies). So the practice is now best avoided as a default design.

    This is also a problem in the original Verdana. When Font Bureau developed Verdana Pro for Ascender, the quoteleft and quotedblleft were fixed to address this shortcoming.



    There are other examples.

  • Paul MillerPaul Miller Posts: 196
    I always follow the positions and orientations in the Unicode Code charts where there is any doubt.
  • Florian HardwigFlorian Hardwig Posts: 162
    edited July 13
    There is precedent for such “mirrored” quotes in several 20th century designs originating primarily in America.

    They are common in US sign painting and hence sometimes also referred to as sign painters’ quotes. Here are a few typographic examples for such mirrored quotes:

    Uses tagged with “sign painters’ quotes” on Fonts In Use



  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 1,517
    edited July 13
    Mirrored quotes usually make more sense than calligraphic ones. But the biggest issue with quote marks is potential confusion with the apostrophe... which is one reason guillemets are generally superior.
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 425
    edited July 15
    Kent Lew said:
    There is precedent for such “mirrored” quotes in several 20th century designs originating primarily in America. But this obviously leads to problems for German usage (and other related orthographies).
    I know that when I use the word "America", I mean the United States, but some people use it, following the practice of other languages, to mean the Americas. So as people will assume you are from the UK from your name, a potential for ambiguity exists.

    Aside from that, to my mind, the original precedent for making quotes mirror-reflections of each other is an Italian design: Bodoni. There, quotes looking like a filled-in 6 and 9 from Roman typefaces are replaced by a reflected 9 and a 9.

    I am puzzled as to what problems would be caused for German. A quote is in the wrong position to be confused with an accent mark. German does use apostrophes, but as the apostrophe and the closing quote are similar, how would changing the shape of the opening quote make any difference? (Oh, wait, I see my mistake. German quotes, as illustrated in the first post, use a closing quote pointed the opposite way from the apostrophe, so a change to mirrored quotes would indeed introduce that particular ambiguity.)

    But the biggest issue with quote marks is potential confusion with the apostrophe... which is one reason guillemets are generally superior.
    That is a reasonable position to take. But at this point, ASCII is set in stone, as the beginning few characters of Unicode, and space on the typewriter keyboard is very limited, so I doubt there is much hope for change in the English-speaking world, at least.
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,642
    I am puzzled as to what problems would be caused for German.
    Modern German punctuation uses a raised left quote as a closing quote, and readers expect it to lean to the right.
  • John Savard said:

    I am puzzled as to what problems would be caused for German. A quote is in the wrong position to be confused with an accent mark. German does use apostrophes, but as the apostrophe and the closing quote are similar, how would changing the shape of the opening quote make any difference? (Oh, wait, I see my mistake. German quotes, as illustrated in the first post, use a closing quote pointed the opposite way from the apostrophe, so a change to mirrored quotes would indeed introduce that particular ambiguity.)
    Whether something creates ambiguity isn't really relevant. If something violates the conventions of a particular language, it is going to look wrong to speakers of that language even if they can easily figure out what is intended, just as a dollar sign constructed from a lower-case s and a slash would look wrong to Americans (just my s̸0.02).
  • Kent LewKent Lew Posts: 882
    I know that when I use the word "America", I mean the United States, but some people use it, following the practice of other languages, to mean the Americas.

    Fair enough. I will be more careful next time.

    So as people will assume you are from the UK from your name, a potential for ambiguity exists.
    I don’t know why anyone would make such an assumption about someone with a surname of Chinese origin. But if they are ever in doubt, they can check my profile.
  • Maybe he assumes anyone named 'Kent' must also be from Kent?
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,420
    edited July 15
    How about making the “German” left quote the default, and giving the “American” version a language tag?

       language ENG;      sub [quoteleft quotedblleft] by [quoteleft.alt quotedblleft.alt];
    
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,420
    Here is an address, a riddle from before the era of postal codes:

    Wood
    John
    Kent
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 425
    Maybe he assumes anyone named 'Kent' must also be from Kent?
    Well, not only is Kent in Britain, but there's also that famous Grade fellow who makes movies.
  • John SavardJohn Savard Posts: 425
    edited July 16
    Interesting. I thought there were other languages that preferred the format shown for Slovenian... and I'm rather sure that Russian is wrong as shown there. Whatever quote format is preferred for Russian, it isn't the nesting of two different kinds of quote.

    Oh, wait, they're doing that for all the languages that use guillemets. So the interior single quotes should just be ignored, I guess.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,420
    edited July 16
    Here is the answer to yesterday’s riddle:

    John Underwood
      Andover
        Kent

  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 1,517
    edited July 17
    John Savard said:
    ASCII is set in stone, as the beginning few characters of Unicode, and space on the typewriter keyboard is very limited, so I doubt there is much hope for change in the English-speaking world, at least.
    Although the overloading of quotes/apostrophe on one key (even more than the ASCII legacy) is a real problem, there is actually an apostrophe character in Unicode. We do need to greatly improve support for it however.

    But most of all here:
    — A type designer can decide to make rational (versus chirographic) quote marks. To me ideally where the opening ones are traditional (giving the reader their bearings) while the closing are vertically flipped (to avoid confusion with the apostrophe).
    — A typographer can elect to use guillemets instead.

    People who don't give readers enough credit for being able to adapt to either of the above are probably stuck in the conscious/display realm of typography.

    BTW coincidentally the day after my post above I saw a publication (the Norwegian Air in-flight magazine) using both guillemets and mirrored quotes!




  • Kent LewKent Lew Posts: 882
    Oh, wait, they're doing that for all the languages that use guillemets.
    I neglected to explicitly mention that since I was testing my turned-quote substitution algorithm, for languages that use guillemets to mark primary quotation and hanging quotes for secondary, I set both to make sure the interior quotes worked adjacent to either opening or closing guillemet.

    (It was not intended as a consistent or comprehensive documentation of international quotation styles.)
  • Unicode had a character specifically for the mirrored double quote:

    ‟ ‎201F DOUBLE HIGH-REVERSED-9 QUOTATION MARK
    = double reversed comma quotation mark
    • has same semantic as 201C, but differs in appearance
  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 350
    edited July 18
    @Hrant H. Papazian The second example in the first picture looks like candidate for the “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks :smiley:
  • Lukas HornLukas Horn Posts: 5
    Thanks for your opinions and all the nice information!
  • The problem with such maps is that they are simplistic. It’s correct that „…“ is the standard form of quotation marks in Germany – in office context and also in many newspapers. As soon as you start looking at printed books, you’ll find that the predominant preference there is »…«. I’m sure such nuances exist in other cultures, too.
  • Vasil StanevVasil Stanev Posts: 394
    Florian Hardwig It would be super interesting if each culture showed these nuances. :)
  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 350
    edited August 7
    This kind of thing is what pisses me off about Unicode. Since Unicode is about characters and not glyphs, and the glyph at U+201C can be used for both opening and closing quote, ideally it would be split into two separate codepoints. Similarly, wouldn't it make sense to have four codepoints for guillemets?
    But I bet if they could design this from scratch, they would assign one codepoint to a generic opening quote and one to the closing quote and then let vendors worry about providing localized and stylistic and contextual variants.
  • Khaled HosnyKhaled Hosny Posts: 259
    In general, Unicode avoids duplicating identical characters unless they behave differently. Space and no break space are duplicated since the later does not allow line break. Colon and ratio are duplicated because they are spaced differently (in math at least). But the various quote marks behave identically (as far as Unicode is concerned), whether used as open or close marks.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,420
    edited August 7
    If there were a separate language code for North American English, then we could make the <quoteleft> glyph (2018) look like an apostrophe, especially for display styles.

    That would make sense, because we rarely use <quoteleft> as a quote mark, yet it appears everywhere bass-ackward, masquerading as a word-preceding apostrophe (e.g. rock ‘n’ roll, summer of ‘69, etc.), thanks to so-called “smartquote” apps.

    Actually, I have done that for proprietary typefaces for North American companies (although with the strange sensation that John Hudson and Thomas Phinney were standing behind me going tut-tut-tut).
  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 350
    In general, Unicode avoids duplicating identical characters unless they behave differently.
    Thanks for the clarification. That seams reasonable. I guess I forgot to add ;smirk; to the end of my last comment.
  • As soon as you start looking at printed books, you’ll find that the predominant preference there is »…«. I’m sure such nuances exist in other cultures, too.
    Were these books printed in Switzerland? Because ever since Napoleon left, the Swiss adopted guillemet quotes from the French.

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