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Re: A proposed standard for CSS-controlled sentence spacing

From: Liam R E Quin <liam@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2013 23:35:32 -0500
To: "Thomas A. Fine" <fine@head.cfa.harvard.edu>
Cc: www-style mailing list <www-style@w3.org>
Message-ID: <1357878932.23333.10.camel@localhost.localdomain>
On Thu, 2013-01-10 at 22:13 -0500, Thomas A. Fine wrote:
> All of this is a little bit beside the point, but since it's been raised...

> On 1/10/13 7:33 PM, Liam R E Quin wrote:
> > A lot of many people believe this, although in fact the practice,
> > sometimes included in the term French Spacing, predates the typewriter.
> French spacing is supposed to mean narrow (word-sized) spacing between 
> sentences, and it stems from the fact that while english printers 
> universally used very wide sentence spacing the french did not.

The reason I said "sometimes included" is that I've seen French Spacing
used to mean at least three things.

Jan Tschichold recommended a regular word space between sentences and a
smaller space after an abbreviation; I've seen a quote attributed to him
as saying that the Fernch practice must be avoided, but when I looked at
the supposed source reprinted in "The Form of the Book" I don't see the
word French there. At any rate in the UK you sometimes see French
spacing to mean wide sentence spacing, sometimes narrow, and sometimes
to mean additional thin spaces before punctuation marks such as ? or !.

I have a suspicion it's used to mean "spacing I don't like" just as
"corn" is used by we pedants :-) to mean "the predominant cereal crop in
a region" and not always wheat.

Anyway, thank for the response!


Liam Quin - XML Activity Lead, W3C, http://www.w3.org/People/Quin/
Pictures from old books: http://fromoldbooks.org/
Ankh: irc.sorcery.net irc.gnome.org freenode/#xml
Received on Friday, 11 January 2013 04:35:39 UTC

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