Quotation mark, non-English usage

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Quotation marks, also called quotes, speech marks or inverted commas, are punctuation marks used in pairs to set off speech, a quotation, or a phrase. The pair consists of an opening quotation mark and a closing quotation mark, which may or may not be the same character.

They have a variety of forms in different languages and in different media; for usage in the English language see the article Quotation marks.


[edit] Overview

For particular quote glyph information, see Quotation mark glyphs.

Language Standard Alternative Spacing Names, references
primary secondary primary secondary
Afrikaans „…” ‚…’ [1] Aanhalingstekens
Albanian «…» ‹…› “…„ ‘…‚
Belarusian «…» „…“ Двукоссі (‘double commas’), лапкі (‘little paws’)
Bulgarian [2] „…“ «…» [3] Кавички
Catalan [2] «…» “…” [4] “…” ‘…’ 0 pt Cometes franceses (« »), cometes angleses (“ ”), cometes simples (‘ ’). ‹ and › are never used.
Chinese, Simplified “…” ‘…’

[5] Fullwidth form “…” Simplified Chinese 双引号 (Double quotation mark, pinyin: shuāng yǐn hào), ‘…’ Simplified Chinese 单引号 (Single quotation mark, pinyin: dān yǐn hào) GB/T 15834:1995
Chinese, Traditional 「…」 『…』 [6] “…” ‘…’ 引號 (yǐn hào) 國語文教育叢書第三
Croatian „…“ ‘…’ »…« ‘…’ Navodnici „…“ and »…« (latter/alternative not used in handwriting, only press & print), polunavodnici ‘…’
Czech „…“ ‚…‘ »…« ›…‹ Uvozovka (singular), uvozovky (plural) (cf. uvozovat = ‘to introduce’)
Danish »…« ›…‹ „…“
or ”…”
‚…‘ citationstegn (‘citation marks’), anførselstegn, gåseøjne (‘goose eyes’)
Dutch „…” ‚…’ “…” ‘…’ Aanhalingstekens (‘citation marks’)
Esperanto “…” ‘…’ Citiloj
Estonian „…“ «…» Jutumärgid (‘story marks’)
Finnish ”…” ’…’ »…» ’…’ Lainausmerkki (‘citation mark,’ singular), lainausmerkit (plural)
French [2] « … » « … » or “…”[7] [3] “ … ” ‘ … ’ ¼-em / non-break Guillemets
French, Swiss [8] «…» ‹…› See above
Georgian ბრჭყალები (brč’q’alebi ‘claws’)
German „…“ ‚…‘ »…« ›…‹ Anführungszeichen, Gänsefüßchen (‘little goose feet’), Hochkommas/Hochkommata (‘high commas’)
German, Swiss [8] «…» ‹…› See above
Greek «…» “…” ‘…’ 1 pt εισαγωγικά, (‘introductory marks’)
Hebrew “…” [1] “…„ merkha'ot — מֵרְכָאוֹת (plural of merkha — מֵרְכָא); a similar punctuation mark unique to Hebrew is called gershayimגרשיים
Hungarian [2] „…” »…« macskaköröm (‘cat claws’), idézőjel (‘quotation mark’=„ ”), lúdláb (‘goose feet’), hegyével befelé forduló jelpár (» «)
Icelandic „…“ ‚…‘ Gæsalappir (‘goose feet’)
Indonesian “…” ‘…’ Tanda kutip, tanda petik
Interlingua Virgulettas
Irish “…” ‘…’ 1–2 pt Liamóg (from "William", see Guillemets)
Italian [2] «…» “…” ‘…’ 1–2 pt Virgolette
Italian, Swiss [8] «…» ‹…› See above
Japanese 「…」 『…』 [6] かぎ括弧 (kagi kakko, ‘hook bracket’), 二重かぎ括弧 (nijū kagi kakko, ‘double hook bracket’)
Korean “…” ‘…’ 『…』 「…」 따옴표(“ttaompyo”)
Latvian «…» „…” Pēdiņas
Lithuanian „…“ ‚…‘ «…» ‹…› Kabutės
Macedonian „…“ Наводници
Norwegian «…» ’…’ „…” ’…’ [9] Anførselstegn, gåseauge/gåseøyne (‘goose eyes’), hermeteikn/hermetegn, sittatteikn/sitattegn, dobbeltfnutt
Polish [10] „…” «…» [3] «…» [11] Cudzysłów
Portuguese, Brazil “…” ‘…’ Aspas Duplas and Aspas Simples respectively.
Portuguese, Portugal «…» “…” “…” ‘…’ Aspas or Vírgulas dobradas[12]
Romanian [2] „…” «…» [13] «…» „…” 0 pt Ghilimele (plural), ghilimea (singular, rarely used)
Russian [2] «…» „…“ 0 pt Кавычки (kavychki, general term); ёлочки (yolochki, ‘little fir trees’: angle quotes); лапки (lapki, ‘little paws’: curly quotes)
Serbian „…“ ’…’ „…” or »…« Наводници, знаци навода (cyr.) / Navodnici, znaci navoda (lat.)
Slovak „…“ ‚…‘ »…« ›…‹
Slovene „…“ ‚…‘ »…« ›…‹
Sorbian „…“ ‚…‘
Spanish [2] «…» “…” “…” ‘…’ [4] 0 pt Comillas latinas or comillas angulares (« »), comillas inglesas dobles (“ ”), comillas inglesas simples (‘ ’). ‹ and › are never used in Spanish
Swedish ”…” ’…’ »…« ›…‹ citationstecken, anföringstecken, citattecken (modernised term), dubbelfnutt (colloquial for ASCII double quote)
Thai “…” ‘…’ อัญประกาศ (anprakat)
Turkish «…» ‹…› “…” ‘…’ 0–1 pt Tırnak İşareti ('fingernail mark')
Ukrainian «…» „…“ Лапки [plural only] (lapky, ‘little paws’), скупки[citation needed] [plural] (skupky, ‘aggregators’), знак навадення (цитати) [singular] (znak navedennia (cytaty), ‘quotation (citation) mark’)
Welsh ‘…’ “…” “…” ‘…’ 1–2 pt

[edit] Specific language features

[edit] Dutch

Although not common in Dutch any more, double angle quotation marks are still used in Dutch government publications.[citation needed]

[edit] German and Austrian

What the “left quote” is in English is used as the right quote in Germany and Austria, and a different “low 9 quote” is used for the left instead:

Samples Unicode (decimal) HTML Description
‚O‘ U+201A (8218), U+2018 (8216) &sbquo; &lsquo; German single quotes (left and right)
„O“ U+201E (8222), U+201C (8220) &bdquo; &ldquo; German double quotes (left and right)

Double quotes are standard for denoting speech in German.

Andreas fragte mich: „Hast du den Artikel ‚EU-Erweiterung‘ gelesen?“

This style of quoting is also used in Czech, Georgian, Estonian, Icelandic, Bulgarian, Serbian and in Russian. In Icelandic, Bulgarian and Russian, single quotation marks are not used. The double-quote style was also used in the Netherlands, but is now out of fashion -- it is still frequently found on older shop signs, however.

Sometimes, especially in books, the angle quotation marks (see below) are used in Germany and Austria, albeit in reversed order: »O«. In Switzerland, however, the same quotation marks as in French are used: «O».

Double angle quotation marks without spaces are the standard for German printed texts in Switzerland:

Andreas fragte mich: «Hast du den Artikel ‹EU-Erweiterung› gelesen?»
Andrew asked me: ‘Have you read the article “EU Enlargement”?’

Sometimes, angle quotation marks are also used in German publications from Germany and Austria, especially in novels, but then exactly reversed and without spacing:

Andreas fragte mich: »Hast du den Artikel ›EU-Erweiterung‹ gelesen?«
Andrew asked me: ‘Have you read the article “EU Enlargement”?’

[edit] Finnish and Swedish

In Finnish and Swedish, right quotes are used to mark both the beginning and the end of a quote. Double right-pointing angular quotes, »…», can also be used.

An en-dash can also be used to start a quotation. It should then be first on a line and be indented as the first line of a paragraph.

Samples Unicode (decimal) HTML Description
’O’ U+2019 (8217), U+2019 (8217) &rsquo; &rsquo; Single quotes in Swedish and Finnish
”O” U+201D (8221), U+201D (8221) &#8221; &#8221; Double quotes in Swedish and Finnish
– O U+2013 (8211) &ndash; En-dash in Swedish and Finnish
»O» U+BB (187) &raquo; Double right-pointing angular quotes

[edit] French

French language uses angle quotation marks (guillemets, or duck-foot quotes), adding a quarter-em space (officially) (U+2005, &#8197;) within the quotes. However, many people now use the non-breaking space, because the difference between a non-breaking space and a four-per-em is virtually imperceptible, and the quarter-em is virtually always omitted in non-Unicode fonts. Even more commonly, people just put a normal (breaking) space between the quotation marks because the non-breaking space is often not easily accessible from the keyboard.

« Voulez-vous un sandwich, Henri ? »
“Would you like a sandwich, Henri?”

Sometimes, for instance on the French news site Le Figaro, no space is used around the quotation marks. This parallels normal usage in other languages, e.g. Catalan, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, or in German, French and Italian as written in Switzerland:

«Dies ist ein Zitat.» [Swiss German]
«To jest cytat.»
«Это цитата».
“This is a quote.”
Samples Unicode (decimal) HTML Description
‹ O › U+2039 (8249), U+203A (8250) &lsaquo; &rsaquo; French single angle quotes (left and right)
« O » U+00AB (171), U+00BB (187) &laquo; &raquo; French double angle quotes (left and right)
«O» U+00AB (171), U+00BB (187) &laquo; &raquo; non-French double angle quotes (left and right) without space

Unlike English, French does not set off unquoted material within a quotation mark by using a second set of quotes. They must be used with non-breaking spaces. Compare:

“This is a great day for Montrealers,” the minister said. “These investments will permit economic growth.”
« C’est une belle journée pour les Montréalais, soutient le ministre. Ces investissements stimuleront la croissance économique. »

For clarity, some newspapers put the quoted material in italics:

« C’est une belle journée pour les Montréalais, soutient le ministre. Ces investissements stimuleront la croissance économique. »

The use of English quotation marks is increasing in French and usually follows English rules, for instance when the keyboard or the software context doesn't allow the utilisation of guillemets. The French news site Le Monde uses straight quotation marks.

English quotes are also used for nested quotations:

« Son “explication” n’est qu’un mensonge », s’indigna le député.
“His ‘explanation’ is just a lie,” the deputy protested.

The French Imprimerie nationale (cf. Lexique des règles typographiques en usage à l'Imprimerie nationale, presses de l'Imprimerie nationale, Paris, 2002), though, does not use different quotation marks for nesting:

« Son « explication » n’est qu’un mensonge », s’indigna le député.
“His ‘explanation’ is just a lie,” the deputy protested.

In this case, when there should be two adjacent opening or closing marks, only one is written:

Il répondit : « Ce n'est qu'un « gadget ! ».
He answered: “It's only a ‘gizmo’”.

Further, running speech does not use quotation marks beyond the first sentence, as changes in speaker are indicated by a dash, as opposed to the English use of closing and re-opening the quotation. (For other languages employing dashes, see Quotation dash below.) The dashes may be used entirely without quotation marks as well. In general, quotation marks are extended to encompass as much speech as possible, including not just non-spoken text such as "he said" (as previously noted), but also as long as the conversion extends. The quotation marks end at the last spoken text however, not extending to the end of paragraphs when the final part is not spoken.

« Je ne vous parle pas, monsieur, dit il.
— Mais je vous parle, moi ! » s’écria le jeune homme exaspéré de ce mélange d’insolence et de bonnes manières, de convenances et de dédains. (Dumas, Les trois mousquetaires)
“I am not speaking to you, sir,” he said.
“But I am speaking to you!” cried the young man, exasperated by this combination of insolence and good manners, of protocol and disdain.

[edit] Hungarian

Samples Unicode (decimal) HTML Description
„O” U+201E (8222), U+201d (8221) &bdquo; &rdquo; Hungarian first level double quotes (left and right)
»O« U+00AB (0187), U+00BB (0171) &raquo; &laquo; Hungarian second level double quotes (left and right)
’O’ U+2019 (8217) &rsquo; Hungarian unpaired quotes signifying "meaning"

According to current recommendation by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences the main Hungarian quotation marks are comma-shaped double quotation marks set on the base-line at the beginning of the quote and at apostrophe-height at the end of it for first level, inversed »French quotes« without space (the German tradition) for the second level, so the following nested quotation pattern emerges:

  • „Quote »inside« quote”

In Hungarian linguistic tradition the meaning of a word is signified by uniform (unpaired) apostrophe-shaped quotation marks:

  • die Biene ’méh’

Quotation dash is also used and is predominant in belletristic literature.

  • – Merre jártál? – kérdezte a köpcös.

[edit] Polish

Samples Unicode (decimal) HTML Description
‚O’ U+201A (8218), U+2019 (8217) &sbquo; &rsquo; Polish single quotes (left and right)
„O” U+201E (8222), U+201d (8221) &bdquo; &rdquo; Polish double quotes (left and right)
― O U+2015 (8213) &mdash; Polish direct quotation m-dash
– O U+2013 (8211) &ndash; Polish direct quotation n-dash

According to current PN-83/P-55366 standard from 1983, Setting rules from composing of Polish texts (Zasady składania tekstów w języku polskim) one can use either „ordinary Polish quotes” or «French quotes» (without space) for first level, and ‚single Polish quotes’ or «French quotes» for second level, which makes three styles of nested quotes:

  1. „Quote ‚inside’ quote”
  2. „Quote «inside» quote”
  3. «Quote ‚inside’ quote»

There is no space on the internal side of quote marks, with the exception of ¼ firet (~ ¼ em) space between two quotation marks when there are no other characters between them (e.g. ,„ and ”).

The above rules have not changed since at least the previous BN-76/7440-02 standard from 1976 and are probably much older.

In Polish books and publications, the second style is used almost exclusively. In addition to being standard for second level quotes, French quotes are sometimes used as first level quotes in headings and titles but almost never in ordinary text in paragraphs. The second style is also used in Romanian („Quote «inside» quote”), according to the Romanian Academy rules.

Another style of quoting is to use an m-dash to open a quote; this is used almost exclusively to quote dialogues.

Mag skłonił się. Biały kot śpiący obok paleniska ocknął się nagle i spojrzał na niego badawczo.
— Jak się nazywa ta wieś, panie? — zapytał przybysz. Kowal wzruszył ramionami.
— Głupi Osioł.
— Głupi...?
— Osioł — powtórzył kowal takim toknem, jakby wyzywał gościa, żeby spróbował sobie z niego zażartować. Mag zamyślił się.
— Ta nazwa ma pewnie swoją historię — stwierdził w końcu. — W innych okolicznościach chętnie bym jej wysłuchał. Ale chciałbym porozmawiać z tobą, kowalu, o twoim synu.
The wizard bowed. A white cat that had been sleeping by the furnace woke up and watched him carefully.
“What is the name of this place, sir?” said the wizard.
The blacksmith shrugged.
“Bad ass,” he said.
“Ass,” repeated the blacksmith, his tone defying anyone to make something of it.
The wizard considered this.
“A name with a story behind it,” he said at last, “which were circumstances otherwise I would be pleased to hear. But I would like to speak to you, smith, about your son.”
(Terry Pratchett, Equal rites)

An n-dash is sometimes used in place of the m-dash, especially so in newspaper texts.

[edit] Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian

In Russian, Ukrainian and Belarusian, angled quotation marks are used without spaces. In case of quoted material inside a quotation, rules[14] and most of noted style manuals prescribe the use of different kinds of quotation marks. However, some of them[15] allow to use the same quotation marks for quoted material inside a quotation, and if inner and outer quotation marks fall together, then one of them should be omitted.


Пушкин писал Дельвигу: «Жду „Цыганов“ и тотчас тисну».
(Pushkin wrote to Delvig: "I'm waiting for 'The Gypsies', and I am going to publish the book immediately".)

Permissible, when it is technically impossible to use different quotation marks:

«Цыганы» мои не продаются вовсе», — сетовал Пушкин.
("My 'Gypsies' have not been selling at all," Pushkin complained.)

But preferable ways in such case are:

  • setting the quote as a separate paragraph with indent;
  • marking the inner quotation with italics;
  • marking the outer quotes with bold or
  • using single angled quotation marks (‹ ›) as inner ones (the last method is virtually never found in practice).

[edit] Spanish

Spanish uses angled quotation marks (comillas latinas or angulares) as well, but always without the spaces.

«Esto es un ejemplo de cómo se suele hacer una cita literal en español».
“This is an example of how one usually writes a literal quotation in Spanish.”

And, when quotations are nested in more levels than inner and outer quotation, the system is:[16]

«Antonio me dijo: “Vaya ‘cacharro’ que se ha comprado Julián”».

As in French, the use of English quotation marks is increasing in Spanish, and the El País style guide, which is widely followed in Spain, recommends them.

[edit] Chinese, Japanese and Korean quotation marks

Corner brackets are well-suited for Chinese, Japanese, and Korean languages which are written in both vertical and horizontal orientations. China, South Korea, and Japan all use corner brackets when writing vertically, however usages differ when writing horizontally:

White corner brackets are used to mark quote-within-quote segments.

Samples Unicode (decimal) Description Usage
「文字」 U+300C (12300), U+300D (12301) Corner brackets
Traditional Chinese 引號 (yǐn hào)
Japanese: 鉤括弧 kagikakko)
Korean: 낫표 (natpyo)
Traditional Chinese

U+FE41 (65089), U+FE42 (65090)[17] Japanese,
Korean (vertical writing only),
Simplified Chinese (vertical writing only),
Traditional Chinese
『文字』 U+300E (12302), U+300F (12303) White corner brackets
Traditional Chinese 雙引號 (shuāng yǐn hào)
Japanese: 二重鉤括弧 (nijū kagikakko)
Korean: 겹낫표 (gyeopnatpyo)
Korean (book titles),
Traditional Chinese

U+FE43 (65091), U+FE44 (65092)[17] Japanese,
Korean (vertical writing only),
Simplified Chinese (vertical writing only),
Traditional Chinese
“한” U+201C (8220), U+201D (8221) Double quotes
Korean: 큰따옴표 (keunttaompyo),
Simplified Chinese 双引号 (pinyin shuāng yǐn hào)
Korean (South Korea),
Simplified Chinese,
Traditional Chinese (acceptable but less common, happened in Hong Kong mainly as a result of influence from Mainland China.)
‘한’ U+2018 (8216), U+2019 (8217) Single quotes
Korean: 작은따옴표 (jageunttaompyo),
Simplified Chinese 单引号 (pinyin dān yǐn hào)
Korean (South Korea),
Simplified Chinese (for quote-within-quote segments)
«한» U+00AB (171), U+00BB (187) Double angle quotes
Simplified Chinese 书名号 (pinyin shū míng hào)
Korean (North Korea),
Simplified Chinese (book titles only)

[edit] Quotation dash

Another typographical style is to omit quotation marks for lines of dialogue, replacing them with an initial dash:

― Je m’ennuie tellement, dit-elle.
― Cela n’est pas de ma faute, rétorqua-t-il.
“I’m so bored,” she said.
“That’s not my fault,” he retorted.

This style is particularly common in French, Swedish and Greek. James Joyce always insisted on this style, although his publishers did not always respect his preference. Alan Paton used this style in Cry, the Beloved Country (and no quotation marks at all in some of his later work). Charles Frazier used this style for his novel Cold Mountain as well. Details for individual languages are given above.

The dash is often combined with ordinary quotation marks. For example, in French, a guillemet may be used to initiate running speech, with each change in speaker indicated by a dash, and a closing guillemet to mark the end of the quotation.

Dashes are also used in many modern English novels, especially those written in non-standard dialects. Some examples include:

In Italian, Catalan, Portuguese, Spanish, Russian, Polish, Bulgarian, Georgian, Romanian, Lithuanian and Hungarian, a second dash is added, if the main sentence continues after the end of the quote:

― Ай, ай, ай! ― вскрикнул Левин. ― Я ведь, кажется, уже лет девять не говел. Я и не подумал.
― Хорош! ― смеясь, сказал Степан Аркадевич, ― а меня же называешь нигилистом! Однако ведь это нельзя. Тебе надо говеть.
“Oh dear!” exclaimed Levin. “I think it is nine years since I went to communion! I haven’t thought about it.”
“You are a good one!” remarked Oblonsky, laughing. “And you call me a Nihilist! But it won’t do, you know; you must confess and receive the sacrament.”
from Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina (Louise and Aylmer Maude translation)

According to the Unicode standard, U+2015 HORIZONTAL BAR should be used as a quotation dash. In general it is the same length as an em-dash, and so this is often used instead. Both are displayed in the table below.

Samples Unicode (decimal) HTML Description
― O U+2015 (8213) &#8213; Quotation dash, also known as horizontal bar
— O U+2014 (8212) &mdash; Em-dash, an alternative to the quotation dash

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ a b Traditional
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Quotation dash preferred for dialogue
  3. ^ a b c Rare
  4. ^ a b A closing quotation mark is added to the beginning of each new paragraph.
  5. ^ This is only used when text is written vertically.
  6. ^ a b These forms are rotated for use in horizontal text; they were originally written ﹁…﹂ and ﹃…﹄ in vertical text
  7. ^ First version according to the French Imprimerie nationale. English quotes are more common, though.
  8. ^ a b c In Switzerland the same style is used for all languages.
  9. ^ Handwriting.
  10. ^ Preferred for headings and other texts in larger font sizes
  11. ^ May substitute for either the opening or closing mark
  12. ^ Source: Bergström, Magnus, & Neves Reis 2004. Prontuário Ortográfico e Guia da Língua Portuguesa. Editorial Notícias, Lisboa
  13. ^ Academia Română, Institutul de Lingvistică „Iorgu Iordan”, Îndreptar ortografic, ortoepic şi de punctuaţie, ediţia a V-a, Univers Enciclopedic, Bucureşti, 1995
  14. ^ Source: Правила русской орфографии и пунктуации. — М., 1956, see §200
  15. ^ Source: Мильчин А.Э., Чельцова Л.К. Справочник издателя и автора. Редакционно-издательское оформление издания. — 2-е изд., испр. и доп. — М.: Олма-Пресс, 2003. - 800 с. - ISBN 5-224-04565-7
  16. ^ This system follows the rules laid down in section 5.10 of the orthography guide Ortografía de la lengua española published by the Real Academia Española (RAE).
  17. ^ a b These codes for vertical-writing characters are for presentation forms in the Unicode CJK compatibility forms section. Typical documents use normative character codes which are shown for the horizontal writing in this table, and applications are usually responsible to render correct forms depending on the writing direction used.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

This article was originally based on material from the Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, which is licensed under the GFDL.

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