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Re: [groff] modernize -T ascii rendering of opening single quote

From: Jeff Conrad
Subject: Re: [groff] modernize -T ascii rendering of opening single quote
Date: Sat, 9 Feb 2019 11:15:49 +0000

On Friday, February 8, 2019 9:38 PM, Jeff Conrad wrote

> I discussed this with Doug Kerr, one of the authors (and the principal
> editor) of X3.4-1967.  He assures me that accent grave was coded at
> 0x60; the intent was to provide the *option* to use 0x60 and 0x27 for
> opening and closing quotes,

Upon further thought, and careful re-reading of X3.4-1986 and Fred
Smith’s November 1967 article in Western Union Technical Review, I’m not
sure I correctly interpreted Doug’s comments, so I’ve asked for a
clarification.  I shall apprise of what I find out.

It does appear that any encoding predating ISO 646 is potentially
ambiguous.  If that’s the case,

    “traditional” ≡ ambiguous

and perhaps

    “modern” ≡ unambiguous

Of course, then “traditional” is impossible to define because we don’t
know which of several possibilities it represents, and any “traditional”
coding is no more than a crapshoot—essentially, ‘-Tascii’ was always
device dependent.

I think there are only two reasonable renderings: true opening and
closing quotes (iffy even with “traditional” encoding), and neutral
apostrophes for opening and closing.  The latter seems the best with
most current non–UTF 8 devices, and is arguably at least safe with most
older devices (though I suppose there could be problems with devices
that render 0x27 as accent acute).


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