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Re: origin of `notation'

From: Bob Proulx
Subject: Re: origin of `notation'
Date: Mon, 14 Nov 2011 14:14:29 -0700
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.21 (2010-09-15)

Eli Zaretskii wrote:
> Buchs, Kevin wrote:
> > In emacs documentation, what is the origin of using the accent
> > grave (backtick) to introduce a quoted phrase, often a command,
> > while using an apostrophe to terminate it.  Example: (info) Keys
> > and Commands: 1st paragraph: "binding" is quoted as such, but 2nd
> > paragraph, `next-line' is quoted that way. If someone who knows
> > the answer will take the time to answer, I promise I will document
> > it on the Emacs wiki. Does this extend beyond emacs? Beyond GNU &
> > FSF?
> That's what Texinfo produces for symbols in programming languages,
> like Lisp and C, in the on-line manual.  (In the printed manual,
> there's no quotes, but the name of the symbol is typeset in monospace
> typeface.)

In some typical font long ago the two symbols ` and ' were symmetrical
mirror images of each other.  In those days the apostrophe was
rendered in an image that looked like the UTF-8 U+2019 symbol ’ and
the result was `...’ which looked quite normal.  I know some people
(hello Karl!) who continue to hack their current fonts to maintain
that effect.  Of course in today's fonts the apostrophe is most
typically rendered as a single vertical without any slant and the
original presentation effect is lost.


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