Wondering what features of language or writing that languages across the world transcribe into so-called "punctuation".

To clarify what I mean, I don't mean a list of every punctuation character in every language (though that would be neat). I instead mean this. In language generally, there are certain things we can consider punctuation:

  • the colon : I just used (start of a list or hmm, I'm not sure exactly what this means at a deeper level)
  • the space (word separator)
  • . (end of sentence)
  • , (list item separator)
  • " (quotation)
  • ' (compound word joiner)
  • ? (question)
  • ! (exclamation)
  • () (sidenote)
  • $ (money sign, different in each culture)
  • @ (fairly new, digital address perhaps)
  • # (number marker)
  • & (archaic "and" sign)
  • [] (footnote or citation perhaps)

That's about all I can think of in English. But I can think of potential other ones that might use a symbol (plus, markdown gives us some options too):

  • - (vertical list item marker)
  • | (table column)
  • italics for emphasis
  • bold for a lot of emphasis

Maybe even some others:

  • something for a joking phrase
  • something for a code block
  • ...

Basically I'm wondering what other languages do for punctuation here. Not necessarily the symbols they use, but the things they punctuate.

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    Good question. Maybe it's a function of orthography and domain, not language per se, and there is a difference between what is theoretically prescribed or possible and what is widely used and understood. For example, ¶ and §. – Adam Bittlingmayer Jan 15 at 18:29
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    To just get all punctuation, you can look at the Unicode blocks. In Python there is also a function like isalpha(), and some libraries, and then you can loop over the entire set of chars. – Adam Bittlingmayer Jan 15 at 18:30
  • As for other languages, some that comes to mind is the function of em dash in Russian to mark the null copula, and the ¡ and ¿ in Spanish to give questions proper intonation. – Adam Bittlingmayer Jan 15 at 18:33
  • Oh I forgot to mention, there are superscripts/subscripts as well, and I know tibetan has some extra markers en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tibetan_alphabet#Modifiers, and sanskrit has one for rhythm. – Lance Pollard Jan 15 at 19:40
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    Note that @ existed for about half a millennium before being used in email. It's called the "at sign" because of its use in trade: "10 widgets @ £1" means "10 widgets at 1 pound each", so the total price is £10. Its modern use comes down to the fact that it was already on computer keyboards, and was one of the few symbols that didn't already have a more obvious use in Arpanet email processing, so it was drafted into use as the delimiter between user and host/route. – abarnert Jan 16 at 21:28

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