14

They were standardized at some point, in the 19th-20th centuries, but many languages still keep their own ancient punctuation, e.g. the Armenian period is :, the Armenian question mark is ՞ which is put above the last vowel letter of the question word, the Greek question mark is ;, Spanish uses the upside-down question mark ¿ at the beginning of ...


10

If we allow abjads, Imperial Aramaic in Aramaic script was one of the first to consistently use spacing, from the mid-7th century BCE. This might have been due to the influence of Akkadian cuneiform orthography. It is true that cursive Hebrew on the ostraca tend to omit dots, and we see here a simplification of dots to spaces the more cursive the writing is....


9

It's not necessary. We know this because punctuation is actually a relatively recent invention: Classical Latin, for example, was often written without punctuation or spacing of any sort. However, while it's not necessary, it's useful. Quotation marks allow us to avoid the repetition of "then he said…" that you find all over the place in e.g. Biblical ...


9

This is likely to be an unsatisfying answer, but… Historical accident. That's just the way it is. Hebrew imported various punctuation marks from various other languages of Europe fairly early, and kept their forms unchanged (Google points me to a document from 1784). Other RTL languages (e.g. Arabic) imported them later, and reversed some of them to fit ...


8

You don't break words in Arabic. Instead of breaking words, the Arabic script uses optional stretching of words to justify text columns. You can stretch the inter-letter joins and also some individual letters (especially the letter kaf). The feature is briefly mentioned in §8.5 of the ArabTeX manual and described in any decent introduction to the Arabic ...


6

Morphemes are sequences of phonemes that have meaning. A full stop or period doesn’t correspond to any sequence of phonemes; so it’s not a representation of a morpheme. It is however related to meaning, in a way. This is because meaning in language doesn’t exist just at the level of morphemes. Punctuation is more or less related to linguistic features at ...


6

No, they are not, every language has its own rules for comma placement. For example, in Russian a comma is needed before 'что' (that) introducing subordinate clauses, but in English no comma is used there: Я знаю, что он придёт. I know that he'll come. In Chinese, there are two different commas, the regular comma , (逗号) which is used o join ...


6

In addition to most European languages, Chinese does not use the serial comma. Moreover, Chinese uses a different comma for enumeration from the one used to set off clauses. For instance, you would say 那天晚上,他吃了鱼、牛肉、虾和螃蟹。 That night, he ate fish, beef, shrimp, and crab. Note that , is the regular comma, while 、 is the enumeration comma. Another difference ...


6

According to the Academy of Hebrew Language, Hebrew numeric ranges should be written right-to-left. http://hebrew-academy.org.il/topic/hahlatot/punctuation/#target-3447


6

Good question! The distinctions made between all these different components of a writing system are observed by linguists and then given names. The defining feature of a punctuation mark is that it's purpose is to aid the reader, traditionally when reading aloud. For instance, the spaces we use between words in English is a punctuation mark since it acts ...


5

Almost, but not absolutely. I'm aware about at least one counter-example: In Thai language, question sentence is formed by using question particle, ไหม [mǎj] (colloquially, มั้ย with the same pronunciation). Just like English form, "…, is it not?" คุณเข้าใจไหม [kʰun kʰâw tɕaj mǎj] = Do you understand? ประเทศไทยร้อนไหม [pràʔ tʰêːt tʰaj rɔ́ːn mǎj] =...


5

The use of hyphens and dashes could be considered part of a language's orthography, literally its "correct writing". Orthography encompasses everything from the alphabet to spelling to capitalization to punctuation, and is certainly a part of language usage. But whether it's an intrinsic part of the language itself is up for debate. Some languages have ...


5

What you want to do is Unicode text segmentation. Look into the "Word Boundaries" section. If you can't understand it, read a Unicode manual first—Unicode's own book is free and easy to understand. You can use a ready-made Unicode library like libicu, rather than coding the Unicode algorithms yourself. Do not be lazy and try to avoid this with a hacky ...


4

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quotation_mark#Quotation_dash: This style is particularly common in Bulgarian, French, Greek, Hungarian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, and Vietnamese. The cultural vector transmitting the quotation dash, I surmise, is French cultural prestige. This article on the history of the dash in ...


4

Question marks are not universal as is not any punctuation or orthography. In fact, the term universal is generally applied to features of language that arise 'organically' - that is without specific intervention (although the level of intervention in all language change is probably greater than the word 'organic' implies). So it makes no sense to ask is the ...


3

There is no punctuation in spoken languages (ignoring constructed languages like Lojban with spoken punctuation). It is debatable whether punctuation is a feature of language at all. Even in written language, punctuation is rather young. Older inscriptions and manuscripts (e.g., in Classical Greek or Latin) often did not feature any punctuation at all. So ...


3

Shapes that are too simple are always going to resemble each other. A small dot-like mark used for marking pauses in prose necessarily is different from the rest of the shapes and/or locations of characters in the text to prevent confusion, is going to result in chance resemblances towards other symbols across unrelated scripts. Chinese punctuation for ...


3

@Alex Clough: this symbol (ฯ) is a Thai symbol that demonstrates that the word(s) before it has been abbreviated; for whatever reason, the lexicologists/orthographers working with the text recognition software and the decision of what characters to include in the creation of the keyboard for their product decided that this character was recognizable enough ...


3

Being a linguist, I agree with all of them except for #5 (which is untrue). Written language is a late-developing technological development -- through most of its evolution, language has been spoken only (or sung). However, I'll suggest to you that it doesn't matter, from a scientific perspective. Scientific theories are generally taken to define their ...


3

As far as I know, adding spacing before some punctuation marks (not all of them) is done by French and Indians. In this comment1, it is stated that the earlier editions of the English grammar books (whose authors were P.C. Wren & H. Martin) featured such spaces before some punctuation marks, and that might explain why the habit stuck and the learners ...


3

I'm a native Hebrew speaker and I disagree with your friend: ranges are usually written right to left, e.g. 2013-2000. Here's an example from Wikipedia. It does look strange from an English speaker's perspective, but that's the convention.


3

In German it is considered an error to put a comma before the word "und".


3

Usually there are marks, but in casual and unofficial texts they are often absent. The oldest lengthy Old Phoenician text, on king Ahiram's sarcophagus, c. 850 BC, has its words divided with a short vertical stroke. The Phoenician inscription on the stele of Kilamuwu king of Bit-Gabbadi (modern Zenjirli, Syria), 9th century BC, has words separated by a dot • ...


3

There are two kinds of rules in language: cognitive rules, and social rules. Social rules include statements like that "ain't" is not a word, or prepositions are things that you shouldn't end sentences with; there are also social rules about "will" and "shall". People don't generally know these rules except if they have ...


2

There is no consensus on the writing direction for the numerical string indicating the range or period in Hebrew. As you can see accordingly to the decision of the Academy of the Hebrew Language "a range of numbers in Hebrew should be written from right-to-left", but many Hebrew speakers disagree with this view, arguing that it is "not a ...


2

English has much less cases when comma is needed compared to Russian because Russian has free word order. In English the same information is conveyed with the order of the words. For instance, comma may totally change the meaning of a Russian sentence: Казнить, нельзя помиловать = Execute, cannot pardon. Казнить нельзя, помиловать = Cannot execute, pardon. ...


2

I built a sentence segmenter that works excellently on unpunctuated or partially punctuated text too. You can find it at https://github.com/bedapudi6788/deepsegment . This models is based on the idea that Named Entity Recognition can be used for sentence boundary (i.e: beginning of a sentence or ending of a sentence). I utilised data from tatoeba for ...


2

The first answer I drafted was similar to what boiko ended up writing, but I abandoned it on realizing what you've confirmed by your comment: you're not asking about the linguistic status of the symbol "." but about what that symbol represents. Another way of asking this question might be, "How do we know when a sentence ends?" To my way of thinking, there ...


2

As you're already aware, in one sense, this could be said to be just as trivial as any other terminology issue. Some people use one definition, other people use another, and it doensn’t really matter as long as you know what definition each person uses. I think it's silly to argue that English language learners cannot benefit from questions and answers about ...


2

I seriously doubt that the claims in the Wikipedia article are true: They don't cite scholarly papers but some strange Baidu site whose reliability I cannot assess at all. It seems very unlikely that such kind of anachronism really happened, one matching punctuation sign would be a big surprise already, but two of them with the same semantics sound like a ...


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