4

For example, English uses "...", but French uses «...».

Also, which of these is more common? What did the first written languages use?

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  • 3
    In Western Europe the custom became to use the quotation mark pairs with the convexity pointing outward. In Britain those marks were elevated to the same height as the top of capital letters (“…”). In France, by the end of the nineteenth century, they were modified to an angular shape and were spaced out (« … ») -W
    – ngn
    Sep 23 '19 at 10:24
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    This question is about punctuation, not about language.
    – fdb
    Sep 23 '19 at 10:31
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    @fdb are things related to writing systems not related to languages ? to what extent ? or do you think it is not related to writing systems ? Sep 23 '19 at 18:12
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    Not everything that relates to language is linguistics.
    – user6726
    Sep 23 '19 at 18:53
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    Quote marks are a pretty recent invention. They're even further removed from (spoken) language than most punctuation, since they correspond to nothing in the speech stream. Hence they even more arbitrary than the rest of of written language. Many scripts historically have managed without them - including French, by the way: dialogue is often written with a dash at the beginning of each utterance, but no quote marks round it.
    – Colin Fine
    Sep 23 '19 at 22:07

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