Exclamation comma

I was wondering. Is there a designated unicode position for exclamation comma and question comma (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punctuation#"Question_comma",_"exclamation_comma") ? If not, what position would you say it's best to place them and how would you imagine them being accessed (e.g. with an open type substitution rule)?

Comments

  • Georg SeifertGeorg Seifert Posts: 570
    A patent for a punctuation mark?? Are you sure you are allowed to use it without license payments ;)

    One way would be to add a substitution for comma+zwj+question.
  • Paul MillerPaul Miller Posts: 146
    They do not have a unicode code point so that they would have to be accessed either via an open type substitution, probably replacing two characters with one of these or by a stylistic alternative probably replacing ? and ! with their comma equivalent.
    However I would question whether anyone actually has a need to use these punctuation marks ?

  • edited March 9
    A patent for a punctuation mark?? Are you sure you are allowed to use it without license payments ;)

    One way would be to add a substitution for comma+zwj+question.
    Hmm, I haven't thought about that. You really think I have to check if I can actually (legally) use them? Maybe I should...

    They do not have a unicode code point so that they would have to be accessed either via an open type substitution, probably replacing two characters with one of these or by a stylistic alternative probably replacing ? and ! with their comma equivalent.
    However I would question whether anyone actually has a need to use these punctuation marks ?

    Well, that's also true. There is no actual need in using them. It's just a playful way to enrich the typographic palette of a typeface I guess.

    I think that a substitution of comma followed by the respective exclamation or question mark would be sufficient (I don't think there is any circumstance where one would use an exclamation or a question mark directly after a comma, right?)

    Thank you both for your responses
  • First, it seems to be an invention with no noticable real-world relevance. That would mean you can put it in your fonts anywhere under any fancy rule, hardly anyone would probably ever be complaining about.
    Second, if someone claims a patent or copyright on such a character, it will hardly make its way into Unicode/ISO char. sets ever, because proprietary rights exclude it from getting accessible and usable by everyone (which is the ratio behind the Universal Character Set).
  • Rob BarbaRob Barba Posts: 40
    I think I'd rather spend more time working on making the sarcasm mark actually relevant and part of daily usage before working on the exclamation comma, but that's just me.
  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 836
    Many questions, like what would be the use case?, are raised here.
  • Dave RowlandDave Rowland Posts: 25
    I came across a use case just today while reading my daughter's bed time story. Particularly with speech, it can be ambiguous whether or not a sentence has ended, which can affect how it is read. I run into a similar problem all the time with kid's books. They are generally really badly typeset in shitty fonts. Fonts where the comma and period are barely discernible throw me a lot. Completely unrelated to this discussion - it amazes me that children's book publishers don't realise that the books will often be read in low light conditions (like bedtime!) and use black text on dark backgrounds. Why they do that?, I really don't know.
  • While I doubt it would ever get used, I believe in Spanish an exclamation or question mark goes right before and behind the part of a sentence that it refers to, in some cases thereby replacing a comna. A combined mark could make sense in such cases.
  • I came across a use case just today while reading my daughter's bed time story. Particularly with speech, it can be ambiguous whether or not a sentence has ended, which can affect how it is read. I run into a similar problem all the time with kid's books. They are generally really badly typeset in shitty fonts. Fonts where the comma and period are barely discernible throw me a lot. Completely unrelated to this discussion - it amazes me that children's book publishers don't realise that the books will often be read in low light conditions (like bedtime!) and use black text on dark backgrounds. Why they do that?, I really don't know.
    Excellent example !, I have to say :-)
  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 1,374
    edited March 9
    Just use Armenian's floating question/emphasis marks. They can be placed above any vowel (and as many as you like). If that's too far out, use the Spanish upside-down ones (which actually can be used mid-sentence, if only paired with an upright one); the subsequent lowercase letter (except for that dumb English "I"...) would imply a "comma".
  • Igor FreibergerIgor Freiberger Posts: 137
    edited March 9
    As Jasper and Hrant pointed, there are the Spanish ¡ and ¿ marks. They are used to indicate when tone becomes exclamative or interrogative —what could occur at any part of the sentence. As the tone change implies a soft break in discourse rhythm, they bring a short "comma-like" effect.

    It is surely a richer and interesting system. But a bit distinct than exclamation-comma and question-comma idea: the new marks would indicate the end of exclamative and interrogative tone inside a longer sentence. The idea does not appeal to me. In Portuguese, use of ! or ? in the middle of a sentence is against the grammar rules, but allowed as a stylistic resource. I prefer this usage than the addition of two marks.

    In other hand, the idea of a sarcastic mark is quite useful. So much that proposals for it were made since 16th Century (!). None got relevant adoption. The recent idea uses a very bad mark and I doubt it could perform any better than previous proposals.

    But ¿who knows? After interrobang was encoded ¡anything is possible! 
  • Hrant H. PapazianHrant H. Papazian Posts: 1,374
    But ¿who knows? After interrobang was encoded ¡anything is possible! 
    Quite telling that ¡nobody! would have a problem reading that.
    (Italics, shmitalics.)
  • Having discovered that punctuation can be patented, I am proposing my own punctuation mark, the menacing comma, which combines the comma with the horns of an ox.


    This can be used to represent an Oxford comma which stares threateningly at editors who attempt to remove it.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,389
    edited March 11
    Rather than invent a new character, why not follow the question mark with an em dash and lower case?—indicating that the sentence is continuing. 
  • Adam JagoszAdam Jagosz Posts: 319
    edited March 11
    Regarding the wiki link in the OP, the penultimate sentence in that paragraph reads, “The patent application entered into the national phase only in Canada”. Doesn't that mean those “punctuation marks” were not actually patented (outside of Canada)?
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 1,414
    And even there the application was abandoned in 1995. As far as I could tell, they were not actually patented anywhere.
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