Re: <q> and the Chicago Manual of Style

Hi Sam,

I think you're citation from the Chicago Manual of Style is quite  
helpful because too often we hear the mistaken belief that quotations  
are simply punctuation or grammar, whereas quotations are separate  
from the punctuation or grammar through which they are expressed. And  
therefore, unlike most punctuation, "quotation marks" often express  
very different things in a document while on the other hand  
"quotations" (not quotation marks) are conventionally expressed using  
quotation marks or several other conventional idioms.

The following sections from the Chicago Manual of Style 15th edition  
provide a good indication of the various alternate presentations from  
a publishing house that is largely focussed on publishing English  
language documents targeted mostly at an American readership. Even  
with those narrow constraints it is clear that quotations have diverse  
presentational styles that require an element such as the q element to  
provide authors and users the benefits of the separation of concerns.

> Relation to Text
> Run in or set off
> 11.11 The two styles. In typeset form, quotations may be either run  
> in — that is, integrated in to the text in the same type size as the  
> text and enclosed in quotation marks — or set off from the text as  
> block quotations, or extracts. Block quotations are not enclosed in  
> quotation marks and always start a new line. They may be indented or  
> set in smaller type or a different font from the text; they may have  
> unjustified right-hand margins or less space between lines. These  
> matters are normally decided by the publisher’s designer or by  
> journal style. Authors preparing block quotations should avoid such  
> devices (unless otherwise advised by their publishers) and simply  
> use the indentation feature of their word processors. For placement  
> of quotation marks, double and single, in relation to other  
> punctuation, see 6.8–10, 7.52, 7.58, 11.33–34.
> 11.12 Choosing between the styles. Whether to run in or set off a  
> quotation is commonly determined by its length. In general, a short  
> quotation especially one that is not a full sentence, is run in. A  
> hundred words or more or at least eight lines — are set off as a  
> block quotation. Other criteria apply, however: the nature of the  
> material, the number of quotations, and the appearance of the  
> printed page. A quotation of two or more paragraphs is best set off  
> (see 11.23–25), as are quoted letters (if salutations, signatures,  
> and such are included), lists, and any material that requires  
> special formatting. If many quotations of varying length occur close  
> together, running them all in may make for easier reading. But where  
> quotations are being compared or otherwise used as entities in  
> themselves, it may be better to set them all as block quotations,  
> however short. Poetry is nearly always set off (see 11.28–32).

In addition, I think the citation you gave earlier from chapter 9 has  
now moved in the 15th edition to chapter 11 of the Chicago Manual of  
Chicago Manual of Style 15th edition (§11.85):

> Typographic style.  Quotations in a foreign language that are  
> incoporated into an English text are normally treated like  
> quotations in English, set in roman type and run in or set off as  
> block quotations according to their length. They are punctuated as  
> in the original except that quotation marks replace guillemets (or  
> their equivalents) and ellipsis points are spaced. For isolated  
> words and phrases, see 7.51. For excerpts from the original language  
> following an English translation, see 11.87.

So basically the Chicago Manual of Style says to style quotations in  
an English language document according to typically English language  
rules. This means a CSS rule like:

html:lang(en)  q  {
      quotes: '“' '”' "‘" "’"

q:before { content: open-quote }
q:after  { content: close-quote }

It may also make sense for UAs to apply quotation styles to a document  
more based on the locale of the user than the root language of the  
document. In this way, the default UA stylesheet could be drawn from  
the software's localized strings so that regardless of the language of  
the document, the user saw quotations in a style they were most  
familiar with. Of course users could also make use of user stylesheets  
with the important keyword. I'm not saying this is how it must happen,  
but I think it is not entirely clear whether the presentation of  
quotations is:

1) a locale-dependent presentation (the locale/culture of the user /  
2) a document language dependent presentation (the Chicago Manual of  
Style implication though the CMS is wholly focussed on English  
language documents presented to English language — largely American  
even — users / readers);
3) the context of the quoted foreign language within the immediate  
surrounding language (even if this is different than the language of  
the document on the whole)

Aside from the proper quotation marks to use in presentation involving  
quotation marks,  the other issues raised by Benjamin Hawkes-Lewis [1]  
could equally be addressed by CSS enhancements.

a) kerning of trailing ::after quotation marks over trailing punctuation
b) omission of terminating quotation marks (e.g., French and Russian)
c) line marker quotation marks (e.g., French) which may already be  
handled by proposed CSS line markers
d) block presentation of lengthy inline quotations

  • for issue (a), the simple syntax of:
         q:after  { content: kerned-close-quote }

might indicate to use the specified close quotation mark, but kerned  
out (to the right for ltr) over trailing punctuation.

  • for issue (b):
       html:lang(ru) q:after,
       html:lang(fr) q:after  { content: collapsed-close-quote }

could indicate that repeated close quotation marks should be collapsed  
into a single quotation mark (perhaps “content: kerned-collapsed-close- 
quote” also)

issue (c)

lang(fr) > q::line-marker { quotes: '' '' '«\2009' '' }

as Benjamin suggested.

  • for issue (d)
html {long-quote: 100 words} /* or alternately {long-quote: 500  
chars }  though this introduces new units to CSS as well as a new  
property */

and then a pseudo-class

q:long-quote {display: block}
q:long-quote:before {   content: no-open-quote}
q:long-quote:before {   content: no-close-quote}

So just to sum up:

  • the q element is needed for authors to author content in a  
presentationally independent manner
  • CSS requires only a few new facilities to provide authors and  
users the means to easily style quotations in the various conventional  
  • with all browsers immanently about to provide the necessary CSS  
support to meet the needs of HTML 4.01 type quotation presentation,  
this is not the time to drop a quotation markup from HTML

Take care,

[1]: <>

original message
On Oct 28, 2008, at 8:10 AM, Sam Kuper wrote:

> 2008/10/28 Olivier GENDRIN <>
> On Sun, Oct 26, 2008 at 1:17 AM, Ben Boyle  
> <> wrote:
> > Got a question ...
> > <p lang="en"><q lang="fr">Bonjour</q> he said.</p>
> > English or French quotation marks?
> Interesting use case. As far as the sentence is intended to be read by
> English speaking people, I think that they await for English
> typography marks, so English quotation marks would make sense. But If
> we had more nested quotations (French quoted into French quoted into
> English), the nested quotation would need French ones (in fact, it
> would need the quotation marks used into the outer quoted sentence).
> I think that quotation marks are not part of the quotation, but
> outside of it (:before and :after), so the @lang of the quotation mark
> is the @lang of the surrounding tag.
> According to the Chicago Manual of Style (Thirteenth Edition is the  
> one I have to hand):
> 9.8 Note too that the remarks [elsewhere in the chapter] apply to  
> foreign punctuation in a foreign language context, that is, in an  
> article or book in that language. A bit of foreign language dialogue  
> or a longer passage quoted in a foreign language introduced into an  
> English context would be punctuated in English fashion, especially  
> with regard to quotation marks:
> "L'état," said the Sun King modestly, "c'est moi."
> So Olivier is essentially correct, at least in the case of a foreign  
> language being quoted in written English under CMS rules. It is  
> possible that other style guides would differ for English, and that  
> other languages might have different conventions altogether.
> The great thing about having a quote element is that none of this is  
> problematic: the spec* can specify a default presentation (for  
> instance, adopting the CMS rule I've given above for cases where  
> foreign languages are quoted in English) but users who desire a  
> different presentation can simply make a style sheet tweak and - hey  
> presto! - they've got all the customisation they need.
> I certainly think that for many use cases (e.g. where a corporate  
> style sheet has already been created), simply entering a <q> element  
> tag would be far less trouble for authors than having to manually  
> look up the correct rules in a style manual and manually type the  
> correct character. The <q> element would also, as I've pointed out  
> in previous posts, permit houses to change their styles far more  
> easily than would be the case otherwise.
> For these reasons, I think <q> is indispensable.
> Sam
> *As I've suggested above, the spec that defines these default  
> presentations need not be the HTML 5 spec. If it isn't the HTML 5  
> spec, then I think the spec that *does* define the default  
> presentations should be published in advance of HTML 5's final  
> publication round, so that the HTML 5 spec can refer to it. Does  
> this seem reasonable?

Received on Thursday, 30 October 2008 04:39:29 UTC