Guillemet facts for kids
Quick facts for kids« »
Guillemets, angle quotes, angle brackets, or carets, are a pair of punctuation marks in the form of sideways double chevrons (« and »), used as quotation marks in a number of languages. Sometimes a single guillemet (‹ or ›) is used for another purpose. They are not conventionally used in the English language.
Guillemets may also be called angle, Latin, or French quotes / quotation marks. Unicode exists for single and double guillemets.
Guillemet is a diminutive of the French name Guillaume (equivalent to English William), apparently after the French printer and punchcutter Guillaume Le Bé (1525–98), though he did not invent the symbols: they first appear in a 1527 book printed by Josse Bade. Some languages derive their word for guillemets analogously: the Irish term is Liamóg, from Liam 'William' and a diminutive suffix.
Guillemets are used pointing outwards («like this») to indicate speech in these languages and regions:
- Azerbaijani (used alongside "...")
- Bulgarian (rarely used; „...“ is official, but "..." prevails)
- Chinese (《 and 》 are used to indicate a book or album title)
- Esperanto (usage varies)
- Estonian (marked usage; „...“ prevails)
- French (spaced out by non-breaking spaces « like this », except in Switzerland)
- Iowans make use of the guillemet when quoting text that also contains a quote, especially in the Des Moines metropolitan region. E.g. « The governor answered "I am thankful for those Iowans who have stepped forward to serve their fellow citizens." ». This practice – a local shibboleth – is a variation of the French usage and dates back to use by the newspaper Iowa Star (now the Des Moines Register).
- Japanese (《 and 》 are used to indicate a book or album title)
- North Korean (in South Korea " is used)
- Polish (acceptable and defined to indicate a quote inside a quote by some language standards, but less common. See also: Polish orthography)
- Portuguese (used mostly in European Portuguese, due to its presence in typical computer keyboards; considered obsolete in Brazilian Portuguese)
- Romanian; only to indicate a quotation within a quotation
- Russian, and some languages of the former Soviet Union using Cyrillic script („...“ is also used for nested quotes and in hand-written text.)
- Spanish (uncommon in daily usage, but commonly used in publishing)
- Swiss languages
Guillemets are used pointing inwards (»like this«) to indicate speech in these languages:
- Croatian (marked usage; „...” prevails)
- Czech (marked usage; „...“ prevails)
- Danish („...“ is also used)
- Esperanto (very uncommon)
- German (except in Switzerland; preferred for printed matters; „...“ is preferred in handwriting)
- Hungarian (only used „inside a section »as a secondary quote« marked by the usual quotes“ like this)
- Polish (used to indicate a quote inside a quote as defined by dictionaries; more common usage in practice. See also: Polish orthography)
- Serbian (marked usage; „...“ prevails)
- Slovak (marked usage; „...“ prevails)
- Slovene („...“ and "..." also used)
- Swedish (this and »...» are rarely used; ”...” is the common and correct form)
Guillemets are used pointing right (»like this») to indicate speech in these languages:
Guillemet Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.