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Re: [CSS3 Text] Thoughts on hanging-punctuation property

From: Daniel Aleksandersen <aleksandersen+w3clists@runbox.com>
Date: Wed, 10 Oct 2007 11:56:33 +0200
To: Brad Kemper <brkemper@comcast.net>, fantasai <fantasai.lists@inkedblade.net>
Cc: W3C Emailing list for WWW Style <www-style@w3.org>
Message-Id: <200710101156.33930.aleksandersen+w3clists@runbox.com>

On 2007-10-10, Brad wrote:
> When I learned typography, back in the day, hanging punctuation (as
> described by Daniel) was part of the craft of creating fine
> typography, even here in the U.S.

I was introduced to typography only four years ago. We learned about left 
hanging punctuation too.

Would you say this should be included in CSS3 Text, Brad?

> I don't see it so much these days (since the dawn of desktop
> publishing) in the type of books or other publications I typically
> read, but I think that is more due to quick and expedient publishing
> than anything else. That, and the fact that Adobe InDesign was the
> first widely-deployed page design program that could do them easily
> and automatically, and it is only a few years old. But I've never
> heard of limiting the hanging punctuation to just the first or last
> line before.

On the web it is quite common to see hanging punctuation on the first line. 
Mostly because it so easy to achieve. When you search the web for ‘hanging 
punctuation’, you will probably find this method:
	text-indent: -.4em;

I think desktop publishing killed left hanging punctuation completely. Like 
so much else, it was to difficult to achieve back in the days. I had hopes 
that CSS3 Text might revive it when I saw the hanging-punctuation property. 
Apparently CSS is not intended for a wide variety of stylistic use.

> On Oct 9, 2007, at 6:53 PM, fantasai wrote:
> > Daniel Aleksandersen wrote:
> >> fantasai wrote:
> >>> I haven't seen an equivalent demand for hanging other punctuation
> >>> at the
> >>> start or end of every line. This could be because I haven't run
> >>> across
> >>> the right publications, or it could be because it's not as
> >>> common, and
> >>> therefore not as important for us to add to CSS at this point in
> >>> time.
> >>
> >> When you say ‘Western’ you apparently mean American and British.
> >> As I said, it is common in Norwegian newspapers and books TODAY.
> >> I know I have seen hanging parentheses, brackets, and hyphen and
> >> dashes. We use «guillemets» for quotation marks and those are
> >> almost always hanging. Norwegian typography is derived from early
> >> 1900 German and French typography.  You will probably find left
> >> hanging punctuation in those languages as well.
> >
> > Well, I'll readily admit that my Norwegian collection is weak: I only
> > have a small book of poetry in Norwegian. But I do happen to have some
> > books in French from various publishers. Seven different publishers to
> > be exact, and one of the books was published in 1925. None of them
> > exhibit hanging-punctuation of the kind you describe (or of any kind,
> > actually).

I actually does not know anything about the origin of left hanging 
punctuation. I presumed it was derived—like so much else—from German or 
French typography.

> > I've also looked at some of the scans of Norwegian newspapers available
> > on the Web, and none of those demonstrate the use of hanging- 
> > punctuation either....

I will try and scan a couple of books at work. But I have no camera and I do 
not think there is a scanner at work either. I will try and come up with 
Daniel Aleksandersen
Received on Wednesday, 10 October 2007 09:57:02 UTC

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