#253 -french option is not what french is about.


The option that selects the amount of space after punctuation is called "-french" in joerc, probably after the common term "french spacing". However, french spacing really refers to the space the French put BEFORE (and around) the punctuation:

(fr) « Il a dit quoi ? »
(en) “He said what?”

This confusion must be resolved. Better call the behavior joe currently observes what it is: inter-sentence double-spacing.


  • Joe Allen

    Joe Allen - 2008-11-11

    Well, I think we're both right: From the wikipedia entry on french spacing:


    Historically, typesetting in all European languages has a long tradition of using spaces of varying widths for the express purpose of enhancing readability. American, English, French, and other European typesetters' style guides—also known as printers' rules—specified spacing rules which were all essentially identical from the 18th century onwards.

    Following the widespread adoption of the typewriter, French spacing and English spacing were terms describing French-language typists' and English-language typists' differing standardized typewriter approximations with single-width spaces of traditional typesetters' spacing rules:

    * French spacing inserted spaces around most punctuation marks, but single-spaced after sentences, colons, and semicolons.[1]
    * English spacing removed spaces around most punctuation marks, but double-spaced after sentences, colons, and semicolons.[2]

    . . . . .


    The typesetting software TeX by also treats input runs of whitespace as a single space, but uses a heuristic to recognize sentence endings and typesets these by default with double-spaces. Contrary to the relatively recent Americanism, Knuth uses the terms English spacing and American typewriter spacing to describe this: he named the TeX macro to disable the automatic enlarging of space after the end of a sentence \frenchspacing, whereas double-spacing is the default (or can be explicitly enabled with \nonfrenchspacing).

  • Jan Engelhardt

    Jan Engelhardt - 2008-11-27

    >Well, I think we're both right

    In that case it needs to be disambiguated even more. Perhaps not using the term "french" or "english" at all would be best.


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