Guillemet

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Not to be confused with guillemot, a common name for several species of seabird.
« »
Guillemet
Punctuation
apostrophe   '
brackets [ ]  ( )  { }  ⟨ ⟩
colon :
comma ,  ،  
dash   –  —  ―
ellipsis   ...  . . .
exclamation mark  !
full stop, period .
hyphen
hyphen-minus -
question mark  ?
quotation marks ‘ ’  “ ”  ' '  " "
semicolon ;
slash, stroke, solidus /  
Word dividers
interpunct ·
space     
General typography
ampersand &
asterisk *
at sign @
backslash \
bullet
caret ^
dagger † ‡
degree °
ditto mark
inverted exclamation mark ¡
inverted question mark ¿
number sign, pound, hash, octothorpe #
numero sign
obelus ÷
ordinal indicator º ª
percent, per mil  % ‰
plus and minus + −
basis point
pilcrow
prime     
section sign §
tilde ~
underscore, understrike _
vertical bar, pipe, broken bar |    ¦
Intellectual property
copyright ©
sound-recording copyright
registered trademark ®
service mark
trademark
Currency
generic currency symbol ¤

  ฿    ¢      $          ƒ                        £                    ¥ 

Uncommon typography
asterism
hedera
index, fist
interrobang
irony punctuation
lozenge
reference mark
tie
Related
In other scripts

Guillemets (/ˈɡɪləmɛt/, or /ɡəˈm/; French: [ɡijmɛ]), also called angle quotes, Latin quotation marks, Spanish quotation marks or French quotation marks, are polylines pointed like arrows (« or »), sometimes forming a complementary set of punctuation marks used as a form of quotation mark.

The symbol at either end—double « and » or single ‹ and ›—is a guillemet. They are used in a number of languages to indicate speech. They resemble the symbols for lesser than (<), greater than (>), and for left and right bit shifts in some programming languages,[1][2] as well as rewind and fast forward on various media players, such as VCRs, DVD players, and MP3 players.

Etymology[edit]

The word is a diminutive of the French name Guillaume (the equivalent of which in English is William), after the French printer and punchcutter Guillaume Le Bé (1525–98).[3][4] Some languages derive their word for guillemets analogously. As examples, the Irish term is Liamóg, from Liam 'William' and a diminutive suffix and, in English, the equivalent term is "Little Willy".

Uses[edit]

Guillemets are used pointing outwards («like this») to indicate speech in these languages and regions:

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)
  • German (Except in Switzerland. „...“ is more commonly used.)
  • Hungarian (only as a secondary quote, inside a section already marked by the usual quotes)
  • Polish (used to indicate a quote inside a quote as defined by dictionaries; more common usage in practice. See the main article for details)
  • Serbian (marked usage; „...“ prevails)
  • Slovak (marked usage; „...“ prevails)
  • Slovene („...“ and "..." also used)
  • Swedish (this and »...» are rarely used; ”...” is the common form)

Guillemets are used pointing right (»like this») to indicate speech in these languages:

  • Finnish (”...” is more common)
  • Swedish (this and «...» are rarely used; ”...” is the common form)

Direction[edit]

A guillemet is sometimes used to indicate direction, for example:

  • fast forward button on a media player, or fast rewind indicated by the complementary guillemet
  • a chevron on road signage to show road direction, or multiple chevrons pointing in the same direction for emphasis
  • as an alternative to an ellipsis in a document, for example to indicate additional content. The guillemet is balanced in the spine height of the line for most fonts, so it is more visible than an ellipsis.

Guillemets in computing[edit]

Navigation buttons in user interfaces[edit]

Guillemets are often used on buttons that enable forward and backward navigation across a set of items (for example in VB, MS Access, email clients, article comment sections, etc). Often a guillemet signifies navigation to the first («) or last (») item in a list, while a corresponding single angle (not actually a guillemet) signifies navigation to the previous (<) or next (>) item.

Typing "«" and "»" on computers[edit]

In Windows: 
« Alt + 0171 Alt + 7598 Alt + 174 Alt + 686
» Alt + 0187 Alt + 7599 Alt + 175 Alt + 687

With a US International Keyboard and corresponding layout, Alt Gr+[ and Alt Gr+] can also be used. The characters are standard on French Canadian keyboards and some others.

Macintosh users can type "«" as Opt+\ and "»" as Opt+ Shift+\. (This applies to all English-language keyboard layouts supplied with the operating system, e.g. "Australian", "British", "Canadian", "Irish", "Irish Extended", "U.S." and "U.S. Extended". Other language layouts may differ). In French-language keyboard layouts Opt+7 and Opt+ Shift+7 can be used. On Norwegian keyboards, Opt+ Shift+v for "«", and Opt+ Shift+b for "»", can be used.

For users of Unix-like operating systems running the X Window System, creation of the guillemet depends on a number of factors including the keyboard layout that is in effect. For example, with US International Keyboard layout selected a user would type Alt Gr+[ for "«" and Alt Gr+] for "»". On some configurations they can be written by typing "«" as Alt Gr+z and "»" as Alt Gr+x. With the compose key, press Compose+<+< and Compose+>+>. Additionally with the ibus input method framework enabled, users may enter these characters into those applications that accept it by using Ctrl+ Shift+U followed by their Unicode code points: either AB or BB, respectively.

In Microsoft Office applications, typing the US quotation mark (on the 3 key) will produce either a left Guillemet "«" or right Guillemet "»" based on the spacing.

Encoding[edit]

Unicode Windows code pages Character entity reference Compose key
Name hex dec hex dec
« LEFT-POINTING DOUBLE ANGLE QUOTATION MARK U+00AB 0171 AB 171 &laquo; Compose+<+<
SINGLE LEFT-POINTING ANGLE QUOTATION MARK U+2039 8249 8B 139 &lsaquo; Compose+.+<
 » RIGHT-POINTING DOUBLE ANGLE QUOTATION MARK U+00BB 0187 BB 187 &raquo; Compose+>+>
SINGLE RIGHT-POINTING ANGLE QUOTATION MARK U+203A 8250 9B 155 &rsaquo; Compose+.+>

Despite their names, the characters are mirrored when used in right-to-left contexts.

Double guillemets are present also in several of ISO 8859 code pages (namely: -1, -7, -8, -9, -13, -15, -16) on the same code points.

UML[edit]

Guillemets are used in Unified Modeling Language to indicate a stereotype of a standard element.

Gmail[edit]

Gmail offers an orange guillemet as an optional star that can be applied to messages.[5] Gmail also uses single and double angles to denote messages sent directly to the recipient, although it calls them arrows rather than guillemets.[6]

Mail merge[edit]

Microsoft Word uses guillemets when creating mail merges. Microsoft use these punctuation marks to denote a mail merge "field", such as «Title», «AddressBlock» or «GreetingLine». Then on the final printout, the guillemet-marked tags are replaced by the corresponding data outlined for that field by the user.

Guillemet vs. guillemot[edit]

In Adobe Systems font software, its file format specifications, and in all fonts derived from these that contain the characters, the word is incorrectly spelled ‘guillemot’ (a malapropism: guillemot is actually a species of seabird) in the names of the two glyphs: guillemotleft and guillemotright. Adobe acknowledges the error.[7]

Likewise, X11 mistakenly calls them ‘XK_guillemotleft’ and ‘XK_guillemotright’ in the file keysymdef.h.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]