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RE: ASCII-only startup message?

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: ASCII-only startup message?
Date: Mon, 28 Dec 2015 02:13:26 -0800 (PST)

> > No one suggested otherwise.  The question raised was whether
> > a right curly quote mark should be used in *scratch* as
> > apostrophe.
> I don't see how "... as apostrophe" is important here, since it
> is the same character.

By "_as apostrophe_" I mean what I said at the outset: used in one of
the apostrophe use cases, which define apostrophe by function, not
by appearance.  (There was never any question about whether a right
quotation mark should be used _as a quotation mark_.  The question
is only whether it should also be used as apostrophe, in *scratch*.)

All of the use cases of an apostrophe are uses _within a word_.

1. Marking the omission of one or more letters of a word (contraction).
2. Marking possessive case (e.g., "Per's pet peeve").
3. Certain plurals.

(There are 6 apostrophe use cases altogether, in the Pullum article:

Wikipedia gives the same 3 use cases (and it calls apostrophe
a punctuation mark, which some linguists do not).

Whether considered punctuation or not, AFAICT linguists agree
that these in-word use cases are what make an apostrophe an
apostrophe - not its appearance.  None of these are uses cases
for a quotation mark.  Quotation marks are used outside words;
never within words.

This is the point (Wikipedia):

  The apostrophe looks the same as a closing single quotation
  mark, although they have different meanings.

I would say that the apostrophe _can_ look the same, and it
generally does.  What is important is that the meaning is not
the same - an apostrophe is not a quotation mark, even when
they might look the same.

This is so regardless of whether Unicode has decided to "prefer"
the use of a single character for both meanings (apostrophe,
quotation mark).

(See also www.umich.edu/~jlawler/IELL-Punctuation.pdf, which
lists as separate punctuation marks, "single and double quotation
marks ‘ “ « » ” ’, and the apostrophe, or raised comma ’ ".
They are not the same mark, even when they look identical.)

> Then the question is just "Should curly quote marks be used there?"
> I can see arguments for or against that, and am not entering that
> discussion. I just want to make sure Emacs doesn't create its own
> division between apostrophes and right single quotes and displays
> texts where those look different.

It is perfectly proper, IMO, for an application to display a quotation
mark using one glyph and an apostrophe using another glyph, Unicode
"preferences" not withstanding.  An apostrophe is not a quotation mark,
by function, even if Unicode prefers the use of the same character to
represent both.  And Unicode does not preclude using different chars.
And even within the Unicode body there apparently has been and still
is disagreement over that stated "preference".  (Although there is
agreement that U+0027 is not preferred.  The disagreement is over
other Unicode apostrophe characters, not over ASCII apostrophe.)

And Emacs can decide for itself what it needs and wants.  Emacs can
respect or ignore Unicode "preferred" use of a given character, based
on its own needs.  And that shows no disrespect for the Unicode
standard and no lack of supporting it.  An Emacs user is free to use
whatever Unicode characters s?he likes wherever s?he likes.

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