Guillemet

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Guillemets
In UnicodeU+00AB « LEFTT-POINTING DOUBLE ANGLE QUOTATION MARK (HTML « · «)
U+00BB » RIGHT-POINTING DOUBLE ANGLE QUOTATION MARK (HTML » · »)

Guillemets (/ˈɡɪləmɛt/,[1][2] also UK: /ˈɡm/,[3] US: /ˌɡ(j)əˈm, ˌɡɪləˈmɛt/,[4] French: [ɡijmɛ]), angle quotes,[citation needed] are a pair of punctuation marks in the form of sideways double chevrons (« and »), used as quotation marks in a number of languages. Sometimes a single guillemet ( or ) is used for another purpose. They are not conventionally used in the English language.[citation needed]

Terminology[edit]

Guillemets may also be called angle, Latin, or French quotes / quotation marks. Unicode exists for single and double guillemets.

Guillemet is a diminutive of the French name Guillaume (equivalent to English William), apparently after the French printer and punchcutter Guillaume Le Bé (1525–98),[5][6] though he did not invent the symbols: they first appear in a 1527 book printed by Josse Bade.[7] Some languages derive their word for guillemets analogously: the Irish term is Liamóg, from Liam 'William' and a diminutive suffix.

Shape[edit]

Guillemets are smaller than lesser-than and greater-than signs, which in turn are smaller than angle brackets.

Guillemets in fonts Helvetica Neue, Arial, Times New Roman, Calibri, Cambria, DejaVu Serif and Courier New. Second row: italics
Angle brackets, lesser-/greater-than signs and single guillemets in fonts Cambria, DejaVu Serif, Andron Mega Corpus, Andika and Everson Mono

Uses[edit]

As quotation marks[edit]

Guillemets are used pointing outwards («like this») to indicate speech in these languages and regions:

Guillemets are used pointing inwards (»like this«) to indicate speech in these languages:

  • Croatian (marked usage; „...” prevails)
  • Czech (marked usage; „...“ prevails)
  • Danish („...“ is also used)
  • Esperanto (very uncommon)
  • German (except in Switzerland; preferred for printed matters; „...“ is preferred in handwriting)
  • Hungarian (only used „inside a section »as a secondary quote« marked by the usual quotes“ like this)
  • Polish (used to indicate a quote inside a quote as defined by dictionaries; more common usage in practice. See also: Polish orthography)
  • Serbian (marked usage; „...“ prevails)
  • Slovak (marked usage; „...“ prevails)
  • Slovene („...“ and "..." also used)
  • Swedish (this style, and »...» are rarely used; ”...” is the common and correct form)

Guillemets are used pointing right (»like this») to indicate speech in these languages:

  • Finnish (”...” is the common and correct form)
  • Swedish (this style and «...» are rarely used; ”...” is the common and correct form)

Other uses[edit]

In Quebec, the right-hand guillemet (»), called a guillemet itératif, is used as a ditto mark.[8]

Keyboard entry[edit]

These characters are standard on French and French Canadian keyboards and some others.

Macintosh users can together press ⌥ Opt+\ to type "«" and ⌥ Opt+⇧ Shift+\ to type "»" - also, ⌥ Opt+⇧ Shift+3 to type "‹" and ⌥ Opt+⇧ Shift+4 to type "›". This applies to all English-language keyboard layouts supplied with the Apple operating system, e.g. "Australian", "British", "Canadian", "Irish", "Irish Extended", "U.S." and "U.S. Extended". Other language layouts may differ. In French-language keyboard layouts ⌥ Opt+7 and ⌥ Opt+⇧ Shift+7 can be used. On Norwegian keyboards, ⌥ Opt+⇧ Shift+v for "«", and ⌥ Opt+⇧ Shift+b for "»", can be used.

For users of Unix-like operating systems running the X Window System, creation of the guillemet depends on a number of factors including the keyboard layout that is in effect. For example, with US International or UK Extended layout selected, a user would type Alt Gr+[ for "«" and Alt Gr+] for "»". On some configurations, such as ChromeOS, they can be written by typing "«" as Alt Gr+z and "»" as Alt Gr+x. With the compose key, press Compose+<+< and Compose+>+> and press Compose+.+< and Compose+.+>.

Windows users can type 
« Alt + 0171
» Alt + 0187
Alt + 0139
Alt + 0155

Encoding[edit]

Unicode Windows code pages Character entity reference Compose key
Name hex dec hex dec
« LEFT-POINTING DOUBLE ANGLE QUOTATION MARK U+00AB 0171 AB 171 &laquo; Compose+<+<
SINGLE LEFT-POINTING ANGLE QUOTATION MARK U+2039 8249 8B 139 &lsaquo; Compose+.+<
» RIGHT-POINTING DOUBLE ANGLE QUOTATION MARK U+00BB 0187 BB 187 &raquo; Compose+>+>
SINGLE RIGHT-POINTING ANGLE QUOTATION MARK U+203A 8250 9B 155 &rsaquo; Compose+.+>

Despite their names, the characters are mirrored when used in right-to-left contexts.

Double guillemets are present also in several of ISO 8859 code pages (namely: -1, -7, -8, -9, -13, -15, -16) on the same code points.

UML[edit]

Guillemets are used in Unified Modeling Language to indicate a stereotype of a standard element.

Mail merge[edit]

Microsoft Word uses guillemets when creating mail merges. Microsoft use these punctuation marks to denote a mail merge "field", such as «Title», «AddressBlock» or «GreetingLine». Then on the final printout, the guillemet-marked tags are replaced by the corresponding data outlined for that field by the user.

Disambiguation[edit]

Guillemet vs. guillemot[edit]

In Adobe Systems font software, its file format specifications, and in all fonts derived from these that contain the characters, the word is incorrectly spelled "guillemot" (a malapropism: guillemot is actually a species of seabird) in the names of the two glyphs: guillemotleft and guillemotright. Adobe acknowledges the error.[9]

X Windows[edit]

Likewise, X11 mistakenly calls them "XK_guillemotleft" and "XK_guillemotright" in the file keysymdef.h.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "guillemet". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (5th ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2014. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  2. ^ "Guillemet". Collins English Dictionary. HarperCollins. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  3. ^ "guillemet". Oxford Dictionaries. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  4. ^ "guillemet". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  5. ^ Character design standards – Punctuation 1
  6. ^ decodeunicode.org . decode . LEFT-POINTING DOUBLE ANGLE QUOTATION MARK
  7. ^ Trésor de la langue française informatisé – guillemet
  8. ^ "Banque de dépannage linguistique: Guillemets itératifs" [Linguistic help desk: Iterative quotes] (in French). Office québécois de la langue française. Retrieved 30 December 2019.
  9. ^ Adobe Systems Inc. (1999). PostScript Language Reference: The Red Book (3rd ed.). Addison Wesley. Character set endnote 3, page 783. ISBN 978-0-201-37922-8. OCLC 40927139.

External links[edit]