Foreign quotes…

The greatest – and I do mean greatest – quote by any non native in a second language has to be that belonging to US President, J. F. Kennedy. On June 26th 1963 he declared ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’. Here comes the shocking part: he did not categorise himself as a jelly filled doughnut in saying those words, as the whole world, it seems, thinks he did.

In fact, according to the nuances of German, his translation of ‘I am a person of Berlin’ was perfect, as should any translation be. And that includes the punctuation, and brings me nicely to the topic of this entry: foreign quotation marks.

Not only do words and meaning vary from language to language (as well as region to region) but punctuation, and its use, does too.

So, there follows a brief overview of the different methods employed on this planet of ours for displaying quotations. Thanks to a French translator of ours, Philippe Maillard, for the information.

[EDIT: Thanks for the comments highlighting the inaccuracies in my post, which I have amended accordingly!]
Language Level 1 Level 2 Alt codes
Bulgarian „ … “ „ … “ Alt&0132 Alt&0147
Czech „ … “ , … ‘ Alt&0132 Alt&0147
Danish Any marks are allowed! Alt&0132 Alt&0147
Dutch „…” Alt&0147 Alt&0148 No spaces around the quotes
English “ … ” ‘ … ‘ Alt&0147 Alt&0148
Estonian „ … ” „ … ” Alt&0132 Alt&0148
Finnish ” … ” ‘ … ‘ Alt&0148
French « … » ‹ … › Alt&0171 Alt&0187 Spaces around the guillemets
Gaelic “ … ” ‘ … ‘ Alt&0147 Alt&0148
German „ … “ , … ‘ Alt&0132 Alt&0147
Greek « … » ‹ … › Alt&0171 Alt&0187
Hungarian „ … ” » … « Alt&0132 Alt&0148
Italian “ … ” ‘ … ‘ Alt&0147 Alt&0148
Latvian „ … ” „ … ” Alt&0132 Alt&0148
Lithuanian „ … “ „ … “ Alt&0132 Alt&0147
Maltese “ … ” ‘ … ‘ Alt&0147 Alt&0148
Norwegian « … » ‘ … ‘ Alt&0171 Alt&0187
Polish „ … ” » … « Alt&0132 Alt&0148
Portuguese “ … ” ‘ … ‘ Alt&0147 Alt&0148
Romanian „ … ” « … » Alt&0132 Alt&0148
Slovak „ … “ , … ‘ Alt&0132 Alt&0147
Slovene „ … “ , … ‘ Alt&0132 Alt&0147
Spanish “ … ” ‘ … ‘ Alt&0147 Alt&0148
Swedish ” … ” ‘ … ‘ Alt&0148

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