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[Groff] French punctuation

From: Ted Harding
Subject: [Groff] French punctuation
Date: Mon, 17 May 2010 20:05:59 +0100 (BST)

Greetings All!

I'm putting this query out in the hope that some of you will
be expertly familiar with the details.

French punctuation is rather special! For instance, opening
and closing double quotes are guillemets ("\f[Fo]", "\[Fc]"
in groff), wth space between the guillemets and the text they
enclose, so that you get something like

  Il a dit « Je vais sortir maintenant »

":", ";", "?", "!" are similarly surrounded by space.

I have the task of translating some English PowerPoint slides
into French (No, they won't be going into PPT, they will be
set in PS using groff!!)

I'm not expert on the full details of the French punctuation
peculiarities. What I have done is to define a couple of macros,
one (.FRpunct) to turn on the French punctuation, the other
(./FRpunct) to turn it off. At present, these are:

.de FRpunct
.char \[lq] \[Fo]\h'0.25n'
.char \[rq] \h'0.25n'\[Fc]
.char : \h'0.2n':\h'0.2n'
.char ; \h'0.2n';\h'0.2n'
.char ? \h'0.2n'?\h'0.2n'
.char ! \h'0.2n'!\h'0.2n'
.char \[em] \h'0.2n'\[em]\h'0.2n'
.de /FRpunct
.rchar \[lq]
.rchar \[rq]
.rchar :
.rchar ;
.rchar ?
.rchar !
.rchar \[em]

NOTE: I have put in rather narrow extra space, because the
text-boxes corresponding to the PPT slides are a bit cramped
for space at times, and using wider spaces tends to cause
the formatting to collapse.

With that caveat (and the possibility, for more general use,
of using wider spacing -- 0.5n? 1n?), I would be grateful for
comments on the suitability of the above definitions.
Are they complete? Should any be different?

A related question (which I can probably solve experimentally,
but would be obliged if anyone who knows could tell me) is
whether the re-definitions of \[lq], \[rq], ? and ! will
demote them from their default status as "end-of-sentence
characters" thereby suppressing the extra sentence-space
that would normally be inserted (I could always use .cflags
to re-establish this property, if necessary).

With thanks,

E-Mail: (Ted Harding) <address@hidden>
Fax-to-email: +44 (0)870 094 0861
Date: 17-May-10                                       Time: 20:05:56
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