[texhax] European quotation marks (quiz time)

Uwe Lück uwe.lueck at web.de
Fri May 1 14:26:49 CEST 2009

>Date: Fri, 01 May 2009 13:01:17 +0200
>From: Uwe Lück <uwe.lueck at web.de>
>At 18:07 10.04.09, Philip TAYLOR (Ret'd) wrote:
>>Just a suggestion (and not necessary), but why not give the glyphs their 
>>correct name ? They are guillemets (glyphs), not guillemots (birds) ! ** Phil.
>According to en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guillemets, Adobe Systems Inc. 
>confesses to have initiated this mistake in the world of computer 
>typesetting. An edit of April 11 has removed the speculation that it is 
>too late to undo the mistake concerning compatibility, as it is so widely 
>spreaded now.

"spreaded" hurts, sorry.

In the upshot of the evidence I collected, the correct term is 
"guillemotets" for "little birds of a species belonging to Uria or Cepphus 
(en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guillemot) ...



>On the other hand, the German Wikipeda names "Möwchen" ("little seagulls") 
>as a synonym in typography. I guess this is because they rather look like 
>$\prec$ than like $<$, and rotating $\prec$ leftwards looks like the way 
>of representing one of countless birds in the sky on simple drawings (as 
>in comics).
>So my impression is that the "seabirds" thing is not so wrong. Note as 
>well that they are also called "Gänsefüßchen" (little goose feet) in German.
>Rather, the epistemology of "guillemets" according to Wikipedia has much 
>of an "origin myth" in my view. It is attributed to a printer and 
>punchcutter *Guillaume le Bé*, 1525--1598, while the first known 
>guillemets date from 1527. The German Wikipedia says that according to a 
>handbook on French indeed some "Guilleaume" used guillemets in 1527 
>(mastery giftedness often becomes apparent in childhood already). 
>According to the French Wikipedia, that "Guillaume" florished in the 17th 
>century. The German Wikipedia continues speculating that the term 
>"guillemet" developped from something like "Guillaume maître" or 
>"Guillaume mett..." ... (The German article on Guillaume le Bé instead 
>says that "Guillaume" means "Little William".)

More information about the texhax mailing list