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Subject: Re: En dash usage in European languages &c
From: Christina Thiele <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Discussion of Type and Typographic Design <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 12 Dec 2005 08:13:54 -0500

text/plain (65 lines)

Thierry Bouche wrote:
> Le samedi 10 décembre 2005 vers 10:22:12, Mats Broberg écrivait :
> M> writers with Swedish as their native language make several mistakes,
> M> e.g. using the hyphen instead of the en dash in "from-to" expressions
> M> ("10-15 m", "20-25 kg" etc.)
> This is the correct form in France. The use of en dash for this in
> France is only seen under anglo-saxon pressure.
> M> or using the hyphen instead of the en dash in parenthetical 
> M> constructions ("Peter - who was now in his 40's - had...").
> Of course, people typing in word or with a typewriter often don't bother
> to use actual dashes...
> Anyway, your question is not something that can be definitely answered,
> as there are general rules, traditional ways of doing things, house
> styles...
> The main point regarding this as long as traditional French typography
> is concerned, is that there are only 2 objects: one hyphen (division:
> compounded words, end-of-line break, figure ranges) and one dash (tiret:
> parenthetical constructions, dialogues, lists). The hyphen is used
> without space around, while the dash is used with an interword space
> except when followed by a comma [the hyphen joins, while the dash
> interrupts]. The width of the dash is traditionally one quad, but this
> might be actually 3/4 depending on the font.
> Of course, in France as anywhere in the world, there is a trend toward
> tight spacing, so the en dash's market share is growing. As long as
> you're consistent with the dash you chose and you space correctly,
> you're doing correct French typography. What is not correct is to have
> many dashes endowed with various "meanings".

Hi Thierry ;-)

Mats, I'm not sure if this is a little off-topic but ... here goes.

We're in the process of doing a Spanish text (publication in Mexico), 
and the question of em- vs en-dashes has come up (no en-dashes, even 
betweeen numbers ... which is hard to take as a long-time TeX person 
;-)) ... along with the question of just where the spacing should go.

The em-dashes would have _no_ space between them and the interjected text:

     John looked at the horse ---the one not munching hay--- and decided
     it was the one for him.

And we're seeing that kind of +/- spacing in some of these 
Spanish-language articles. Now, I also recall seeing this in Italian 
texts I'd done (many years ago).

Is this still a convention in use in Spanish ... and Italian? And I 
think I also have seen it in some French texts, but not always ... 
Thierry? Any comments on this one?


If this should be a separate thread, just say so, and I'll repost.


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