On Sat, 27 May 2000 15:16:24 -0700, Hal E. Fulton <hfulton / austin.rr.com> wrote:
>Hi, Dave...
>
>A few more comments on this non-issue. and
>then I will be silent, lest someone think I am
>flaming you, which is not my intention...   :)

In summary, quotes and ticks on computers are just Another Dumb Thing,
rather like Backspace & Delete.

For example, I've never had a problem with Dave's posts. My quote keys are
symmetric opposites (i.e. the symbols on them look like open and close
single quotes). The same in the font I use in my newsreader (misc fixed
under X).

The trouble is, there are four characters to be represented here by two
positions in the ASCII character set and two keys on the keyboard:

straight quote/tick
backtick
open single quote
apostrophe/close single quote

In some versions of Latin 1 (and other character sets) you get all four,
with the paired quotes being in the top-bit-set part of the character set,
and the other two in the bottom half.

However, if you're writing a document mostly consisting of prose, it's quite
possible that you'd want your tick and backtick keys to produce paired
quotes. The TeX input convention that uses tick and backtick as quotes, and
automatically generates double quotes from pairs of them is perhaps the most
systematic example of this, but as we've seen in this discussion, many fonts
do the same thing.

Actually, there should be very little ambiguity, as few languages use
top-bit-set characters, precisely because what's in that part of a 8- (or
nowadays 16- or even 31/2-) bit character set is anyone's guess.

The original comment I find a little bizarre, since I think it's much more
visually appealing when quotes at least mimic typesetting.

In my view this is all a historical hangover, and one day everyone will
program in proportional fonts (no, I still don't either, and find the idea
odd!).

-- 
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