LINGUIST List 10.1576

Thu Oct 21 1999

Sum: Quotation Marks

Editor for this issue: Karen Milligan <>


  • Stig W. Joergensen, Quotation marks

    Message 1: Quotation marks

    Date: Wed, 20 Oct 1999 15:16:49 +0200
    From: Stig W. Joergensen <>
    Subject: Quotation marks

    Dear Linglist Subscribers,

    Recently I posted a query asking for references to non-prescriptive studies of the various uses of quotation marks. I have been happy to receive many encouring messages supporting my view that this is an interesting research subject for a linguist. In my posting, I supplied a few examples of presumably non-orthodox uses, such as quotation marks used to express that the writer is not sure about his or her choice of words. I would like to stress that these were only meant as informal examples of the sort of thing I'm looking for; however, several people sent me interesting examples of uses I had not considered in the posting.

    Laura L. Koenig <>, Mai Kuha <> and Daniel Collins <> all mentioned quotation marks used for pure emphasis, particularly in signs:

    "NO" "PARKING"


    I am not familiar with this use, which may be the same as the stylistic usage mentioned in the Polish reference below (Luczynski 1999). I would interested to know if anyone has observed this usage in other languages (or in other English-speaking countries than the U.S.).

    References were supplied by Emily Bender <bendercsli.Stanford.EDU>, Lucja Biel <>, Daniel Collins <>, Bart Geurts <>, Caroline Leathem <>, Mike Maxwell <>, Marc Picard <> (many references from the MLA database), Carlos Rodr�guez <> (who also provided a copy of the Kenyon 1994 paper), Diana Maria de Sousa Marques Pinto dos Santos <>, J L Speranza <> and Ulla Tuomarla <>.

    Some of the references concern the history of quotation marks, the treatment of quotations in the philosophy of language, linguistic treatments of punctuation in generel, and other related topics. Of course, I have not had the time to find and read all these papers, so I just present the list alphabetically, with a few comments.

    J Authier: "Paroles tenues a distance" Colloque des 24, 25, 26 avril 1980, Univ. Paris X - Nanterre

    J Authier-Revuz : Ces mots qui ne vont pas de soi (Larousse 1995, 2 tomes). (metalanguage, quotation marks, etc.)

    R Baudusch: "Einige Ausfuhrungen zu den Anfuhrungszeichen" Sprachpflege: Zeitschrift fur Gutes Deutsch, New York, NY. 1983 Apr., 32:4, 49-53

    B Buky: "What Do Quotation-Marks Reveal?/Qu'est-ce que revelent les guillemets?" Proc. of IVth Internat. Cong./Actes du IVe Cong. Mondial, Internat. Assn. for Semiotic Studies/Assn. Internat. de Semiotique, 1989

    S Fiedler: "Citiloj: Cu nur iloj por citi?" Der Esperantist 1988, 24:5 (151), 104-106

    J Findra: "Stylistika uvodzoviek" Slovenska Rec: Casopis Pre Vyskum Slovenskeho Jazyka, Munich, Germany (SlRec). 1987, 52:6, 335-345

    I Fonagy, "Reported speech in French and Hungarian," in Direct and indirect speech, ed. Florian Coulmas, 255-309 (Berlin, 1986)

    M Ishenko: "Translating Quotation Marks: Punctuating and Formatting Issues in English-Russian Translation". In Macfarlane-Ann-G. (compilation and preface). Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference of the American Translators Association, 1998

    D Kaplan: "Quantifying In", "Synthese". (an intensional approach that could be applied to quotations)

    R Kenyon: "On the Use of Quotation Marks" A Review of General Semantics 1994. Spring, 51:1, 47-50

    H Kluge: "Uber die Funktionen der Anfuhrungszeichen im 17. Jahrhundert" In S G Andersson & J K Hyldgaard Sprachgermanistik in Skandinavien. Goteborg, Sweden : 1993.

    R Lakoff: "Some of my favorite writers are literate: The mingling of oral and literate strategies in written communication," in Spoken and written language: Exploring orality and literacy, ed. Deborah Tannen, 239-260 (Norwood, New Jersey, 1982)

    C Leathem: "The prosody of quotation marks used in electronic communication" (MSc dissertation, includes a bibliography)

    J Lennard: "Punctuation: and--" (or something like that) in Historical Pragmatics, ed. Andreas Jucker (Amsterdam, 1996).

    J Lemke. (1998) "Multiplying meaning: visual and verbal semiotics in scientific text." en Reading Science: Critical and functional perspective on discourses of science. ed. Martin, J.R. & Robert Veel, Routledge

    E Luczynski (1999): Wspolczesna Interpunkcja Polska. Gdansk: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Gdanskiego. (contemporary Polish punctuation. Chapter on quotation marks, including stylistic usage, ironic usage and metaphorical usage)

    E Minarova & J Chloupek: "Vyrazy v publicistickem textu oznacene uvozovkami" Nase-Rec 1983 Mar., 66:1, 14-22

    G Nunberg: The Linguistics of Punctuation. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications. 1990.

    E Pascual & M-P P�ry-Woodley (1997) "Mod�les de texte pour la d�finition". Actas de Journ�es Scientifiques et Techniques du R�seau Francophone de l'Ing�nierie de la Langue, 15-16 abril, Avignon

    M D Platts: Ways of Meaning: An Introduction to A Philosophy of Language (London: RKP)

    The Punctuation Project. Homepage includes bibliographies:

    C. Rodriguez: Terminology and Knowledge Engineering 99 proceedings. "Explicit metalinguistic operations in specialised texts: the construction of lexical meaning". Innsbruk august 1999

    B Say: a number of publications on the semantic and discourse aspects of punctuation marks, within the framework of Kamp and Reyle's Discourse Representation Theory and Asher's extension to it, with computational implications for NLP systems. List of publications and full copy of PhD available at

    T P Sadokhina: "Kavychki kak pokazatel' kontekstnogo znacheniia slova" Russkii Iazyk v Shkole: Metodicheskii Zhurnal, Moscow, Russia (RJS). 1987 Jan.-Feb., 1, 56-59

    D Santos: "Punctuation and multilinguality: Reflections from a language engineering perspective". In Working Papers in Applied Linguistics 4/98, redigert av Jo Terje Ydstie og Anne C. Wolleb�k. Oslo: Department of linguistics, Faculty of Arts, University of Oslo, pp.138-60, available from (RTF format) or (PS format) -- includes references

    M Seymour: Indirect discourse and quotation. Philosophical Studies 74: 1-38, 1994

    T Storel: "Sind 'Gansefusschen' eine Modeerscheinung?" Sprachpflege: Zeitschrift fur Gutes Deutsch, New York, NY. 1988 Sept., 37:9, 128-131

    C Washington: Quotation. The Journal of Philosophy 89: 582-605, 1992.

    I wish to thank you all for your help and interest!

    Best, Stig


    Stig W. Jorgensen, Assistant Research Professor Dept. of Computational Linguistics, Copenhagen Business School Bernhard Bangs Alle 17B, DK-2000 Frederiksberg phone: +45 38 15 31 30, email: