Interpunct

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"Middot" redirects here. For the religious tractate, see Middot (Talmud).
·
Interpunct
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

An interpunct ( · ), also known as an interpoint,[1] middle dot, middot, and centered dot (UK centred dot), is a punctuation mark consisting of a vertically-centered dot used for interword separation in ancient Latin script. (Word-separating spaces did not appear until some time between A.D. 600 and 800.) It appears in a variety of uses in some modern languages and is present in Unicode as code point U+00B7 · middle dot (HTML · · ·).

The multiplication dot (U+2219 bullet operator (HTML ∙) or U+22C5 dot operator (HTML ⋅ · ⋅)), whose glyphs are similar or identical to the interpunct, is a multiplication sign optionally used instead of the styled ×: ab is equivalent to a × b or "a times b". The same sign is also used in vector multiplication to discriminate between the scalar product (ab) and the vector cross product (a × b) or exterior product (ab). As a multiplication operator, it is also encountered in symbols for compound units such as the newton-meter (N∙m or N m). The multiplication dot is a separate Unicode character (U+22C5), but is often silently replaced by the interpunct or bullet (U+2022 bullet (HTML • · •)).

In written language[edit]

Various dictionaries often use the interpunct (in this context, sometimes called hyphenation point) to indicate syllabification within a word with multiple syllables. There is also a separate Unicode character, U+2027 hyphenation point.

English[edit]

In British typography, the space dot is an interpunct used as the formal decimal point. Its use is advocated by laws and by academic circles such as the Cambridge University History Faculty Style Guide[2] and is mandated by some UK-based academic journals such as The Lancet.[3] When the British currency was decimalized in 1971, the official advice issued was to write decimal amounts with a raised point (for example, £21·48) and to use a decimal point "on the line" only when typesetting constraints made it unavoidable. This usage, however, has been declining since the mid-1970s, as the importation of electronic typewriters, calculators, and computers from the United States and Japan familiarized Britons with using periods and made the space dot harder to typeset.[citation needed]

In the Shavian alphabet, interpuncts replace capitalization as the marker of proper nouns. The dot is placed at the beginning of a word.

Catalan[edit]

Billboard in Barcelona (detail)

The flown dot (Catalan: punt volat) is used in Catalan between two Ls in cases where each belongs to a separate syllable, for example cel·la, "cell". This distinguishes such "geminate Ls" (ela geminada), which are pronounced [ɫː], from "double L" (doble ela), which are written without the flown dot and are pronounced [ʎ]. In situations where the flown dot is unavailable, periods (as in col.lecció) or hyphens (as in col-lecció) are frequently substituted, but this is tolerated rather than advocated.

Historically, medieval Catalan also used the symbol · as a marker for certain elisions, much like the modern apostrophe (see Occitan below).

There is no separate keyboard layout for Catalan: the flown dot can be typed using Shift-3 in the Spanish (Spain) layout. It appears in Unicode as the letters Ŀ (U+013F) and ŀ (U+0140), but they are compatibility characters and are not frequently used nor recommended.[4] Similarly, the larger bullet (, U+2022, •) may be seen but is discouraged on aesthetic grounds. The preferred Unicode representation is (U+006C + U+00B7).

Chinese[edit]

The partition sign (Unicode code point U+2027, Hyphenation Point) is used in Chinese languages (which generally lack spacing between characters) to mark divisions in transliterated foreign words, particularly names. This is properly (and on Taiwan formally[5]) a full-width punctuation mark, although sometimes narrower forms are substituted for aesthetic reasons. In particular, the regular interpunct is more commonly used as a computer input, although Chinese-language fonts typically render this as full width. When the Chinese text is romanized, the partition sign is simply replaced by a standard space or other appropriate punctuation. Thus, William Shakespeare is signified as 威廉·莎士比亞 or 威廉·莎士比亚 (p Wēilián Shāshìbǐyǎ), George W. Bush as 喬治·布殊 or 乔治·布什 (p Qiáozhì W. Bùshí), and the full name of the prophet Muhammad as 阿布·卡西木·穆罕默德·本·阿布杜拉·本·阿布杜勒-穆塔利卜·本·哈希姆 (p Ābù Kǎxīmù Mùhǎnmòdé Běn Ābùdùlā Běn Ābùdùlēi-Mùtǎlìbo Běn Hāxīmǔ). Titles and other translated words are not similarly marked: Genghis Khan and Elizabeth II are simply 成吉思汗 and 伊利沙伯二世 or 伊麗莎白二世 without a partition sign.

The partition sign is also used to separate book and chapter titles when they are mentioned consecutively: book first and then chapter. It also appears in Swedish sinologist Bernhard Karlgren's works, where an interpunct is used to represent the glottal stop in his reconstruction of medieval Chinese.

Minnan[edit]

In Pe̍h-ōe-jī for Taiwanese Hokkien, middle dot is often used as a workaround for dot above right diacritic because most early encoding systems did not support this diacritic. This is now encoded as U+0358 ͘ combining dot above right (see ). Unicode did not support this diacritic until June 2004. Newer fonts often support it natively; however, the practice of using middle dot still exists. Historically, it was derived in the late 19th century from an older barred-o with curly tail as an adaptation to the typewriter.

Franco-Provençal[edit]

In Franco-Provençal (or Arpitan), the interpunct is used in order to distinguish the following graphemes:

  • ch·, pronounced [ʃ], versus ch, pronounced [ts]
  • , pronounced [ʒ], versus j, pronounced [dz]
  • before e, i, pronounced [ʒ], versus g before e, i, pronounced [dz]

Greek[edit]

Ancient Greek did not have spacing or interpuncts but instead ran all the letters together. By late antiquity, various marks were used to separate words, particularly the Greek comma.[6]

The modern Greek ano teleia mark (άνω τελεία, ánō teleía, lit. "upper stop"), also known as the áno stigmī́ (άνω στιγμή), is the infrequently-encountered Greek semicolon and is properly romanized as such.[7] It is also used to introduce lists in the manner of an English colon.[6] In Greek text, Unicode provides a unique code point—U+0387 · greek ano teleia[8]—but it is also expressed as an interpunct. In practice, the separate code point for ano teleia canonically decomposes to the interpunct.[6]

The Hellenistic scholars of Alexandria first developed the mark for a function closer to the comma, before it fell out of use and then repurposed for its present role.[6]

Gǝˁǝz[edit]

The Gǝˁǝz (Ethiopic) language uses an interpunct of two vertically aligned dots, like a colon, but with larger dots. An example is ገድለ፡ወለተ፡ጴጥሮስ.

Japanese[edit]

Main article: Japanese punctuation

Interpuncts are often used to separate transcribed foreign words written in katakana. For example, "Can't Buy Me Love" becomes 「キャント・バイ・ミー・ラヴ」 (Kyanto·bai·mī·ravu). A middle dot is also sometimes used to separate lists in Japanese instead of the Japanese comma ("、" known as tōten). Dictionaries and grammar lessons in Japanese sometimes also use a similar symbol to separate a verb suffix from its root. Note that while some fonts may render the Japanese middle dot as a square under great magnification, this is not a defining property of the middle dot that is used in China or Japan.

However, the Japanese writing system usually does not use space or punctuation to separate words (though the mixing of katakana, kanji, and hiragana gives some indication of word boundary).

In Japanese typography, there exist two Unicode code points:

  • U+30FB katakana middle dot, with a fixed width that is the same as most kana characters, known as fullwidth.
  • U+FF65 halfwidth katakana middle dot

The interpunct also has a number of other uses in Japanese, including the following: to separate titles, names and positions: 課長補佐・鈴木 (Assistant Section Head · Suzuki); as a decimal point when writing numbers in kanji: 三・一四一五九二 (3.141 592); and in place of hyphens, dashes and colons when writing vertically.

Korean[edit]

Interpuncts are used in written Korean to denote a list of two or more words, more or less in the same way a slash (/) is used to juxtapose words in many other languages. In this role it also functions in a similar way to the English en dash, as in 미·소관계, "American–Soviet relations". The use of interpuncts has declined in years of digital typography and especially in place of slashes, but, in the strictest sense, a slash cannot replace a middle dot in Korean typography.

U+318D hangul letter araea (아래아) is used more than a middle dot when an interpunct is to be used in Korean typography, though araea is not a punctuation symbol but an obsolete Hangul Jamo, because araea is full-width letter so that it looks better than middle dot between Hangul and it is drawn like middle dot in Windows default Korean font such as Batang.

Latin[edit]

The interpunct (INTERPVNCTVS) was regularly used in classical Latin to separate words. In addition to the most common round form, inscriptions sometimes use a small equilateral triangle for the interpunct, pointing either up or down. It may also appear as a mid-line comma, similar to the Greek practice of the time. The interpunct fell out of use c.AD 200, and Latin was then written scripta continua for several centuries.

Occitan[edit]

In Occitan, especially in the Gascon dialect, the interpunct (punt interior, literally, "inner dot", or ponch naut for "high / upper point") is used to distinguish the following graphemes:

  • s·h, pronounced [s.h], versus sh, pronounced [ʃ], for example, in des·har 'to undo' vs deishar 'to leave'
  • n·h, pronounced [n.h], versus nh, pronounced [ɲ], for example in in·hèrn 'hell' vs vinha 'vineyard'

Although it is considered to be a spelling error, a period is frequently used when a middle dot is unavailable: des.har, in.hèrn, which is the case for French keyboard layout.

In Old Occitan, the symbol · was sometimes used to denote certain elisions, much like the modern apostrophe, the only difference being that the word that gets to be elided is always placed after the interpunct, the word before ending either in a vowel sound or the letter n:

  • que·l (que lo, that the) versus qu'el (that he)
  • From Bertran de Born's Ab joi mou lo vers e·l comens (translated by James H. Donalson):

Bela Domna·l vostre cors gens
E·lh vostre bel olh m'an conquis,
E·l doutz esgartz e lo clars vis,
E·l vostre bels essenhamens,
Que, can be m'en pren esmansa,
De beutat no·us trob egansa:
La genser etz c'om posc'e·l mon chauzir,
O no·i vei clar dels olhs ab que·us remir.

Domna·l [ˈdonnal] = Domna, lo ("Lady, the": singular definite article)
E·lh [eʎ] = E li ("And the": plural definite article)
E·l [el] = E lo ("And the")
E·l = E lo ("And the")

No·us [nows] = Non vos ("(do) not... you": direct object pronoun)
E·l = En lo ("in the")
No·i [noj] = Non i ("(do) not... there") // Que·us [kews] = Que vos ("that (I)... you")

O pretty lady, all your grace
and eyes of beauty conquered me,
sweet glance and brightness of your face
and all your nature has to tell
so if I make an appraisal
I find no one like in beauty:
most pleasing to be found in all the world
or else the eyes I see you with have dimmed.

Old Irish[edit]

In many linguistic works discussing Old Irish (but not in actual Old Irish manuscripts), the interpunct is used to separate a pretonic preverbal element from the stressed syllable of the verb, e.g. do·beir "says". It is also used in citing the verb forms used after such preverbal elements (the prototonic forms), e.g. ·beir "carries", to distinguish them from forms used without preverbs, e.g. beirid "carries".[9] In other works, the hyphen (do-beir, -beir) or colon (do:beir, :beir) may be used for this purpose.

Runes[edit]

Runic texts use either an interpunct-like or a colon-like punctuation mark to separate words. There are two Unicode characters dedicated for this: U+16EB runic single punctuation and U+16EC runic multiple punctuation.

In mathematics and science[edit]

In SI units the middle dot or non-breaking space is used as a multiplication sign. Only a comma or full stop (period) may be used as a decimal marker.

In mathematics, a small middle dot can be used to represent product; for example, x ∙ y for the product of x and y. When dealing with scalars, it is interchangeable with the multiplication sign: x ⋅ y means the same thing as x × y, but × is easily confused with the letter x. However, when dealing with vectors, the dot product is distinct from the cross product. This usage has its own designated code point in Unicode, U+2219 (∙), called the "bullet operator".[citation needed] It is also sometimes used to denote the “AND” relationship in formal logic, due to the relationship between these two operations. In situations where the interpunct is used as a decimal point (as noted above, by many mathematics teachers in some countries[weasel words]), then the multiplication sign used is usually a full stop (period), not an interpunct.

In computing, the middle dot is usually used to indicate white space in various software applications such as word processing, graphic design, web layout, desktop publishing or software development programs. In some word processors, interpuncts are used to denote not only hard space or space characters, but also sometimes used to indicate a space when put in paragraph format to show indentations and spaces. This allows the user to see where white space is located in the document and what sizes of white space are used, since normally white space is invisible so tabs, spaces, non-breaking spaces and such are indistinguishable from one another.

In chemistry, the middle dot is used to separate the parts of formulas of addition compounds, mixture salts or solvates (mostly hydrates), such as of copper(II) sulphate pentahydrate, CuSO4 · 5H2O.

Keyboard input[edit]

On computers, the interpunct may be available through various key combinations, depending on the operating system and the keyboard layout. Assuming a QWERTY keyboard layout unless otherwise stated:

Failing this, it may be copy-pasted from here: ·

Similar symbols[edit]

Symbol Character Entity Numeric Entity Unicode Code Point LaTeX[10] Notes
· · · U+00B7 middle dot \textperiodcentered Mittelpunkt
· · U+0387 greek ano teleia Greek ánō stigmē
ּ ּ U+05BC hebrew point dagesh or mappiq Hebrew point dagesh or mapiq
᛫ U+16EB runic single punctuation Runic punctuation
• • U+2022 bullet \textbullet bullet, often used to mark list items
‧ U+2027 hyphenation point hyphenation point (dictionaries)
∘ U+2218 ring operator \circ ring operator (mathematics)
∙ U+2219 bullet operator \bullet bullet operator (mathematics)
⋅ ⋅ U+22C5 dot operator \centerdot, \cdot, \cdotp dot operator (mathematics)
◦ U+25E6 white bullet hollow bullet
⦁ U+2981 z notation spot symbol used by the Z notation[11]
⸰ U+2E30 ring point Avestan punctuation mark
⸱ U+2E31 word separator middle dot Word separator (Avestan and other scripts)
・ U+30FB katakana middle dot fullwidth katakana middle dot
・ U+FF65 halfwidth katakana middle dot halfwidth katakana middle dot
𐄁 𐂧 U+10101 aegean word separator dot Word separator for Aegean scripts[12] (Linear A and Linear B)

Characters in the Symbol column above may not render correctly in all browsers.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Catich, Edward. ''The Origin of the Serif: Brush Writing and Roman Letters.'' Des Moines, Iowa: Saint Ambrose University Catich Gallery, 1991". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2011-01-10. 
  2. ^ "Cambridge University History Faculty Style Guide 2010". Retrieved 2014-01-12. 
  3. ^ "Artwork Guidelines for the Lancet" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-01-16. 
  4. ^ Unicode Latin Extended A code chart p.13
  5. ^ "CNS11643 中文全字庫-字碼查詢與下載" (in Chinese). Cns11643.gov.tw. Retrieved 2013-04-22. 
  6. ^ a b c d "Thesaurus Linguae Graecae". www.tlg.uci.edu. Retrieved 2011-01-10. 
  7. ^ Ελληνικός Οργανισμός Τυποποίησης [Ellīnikós Organismós Typopoíīsīs, "Hellenic Organization for Standardization"]. ΕΛΟΤ 743, 2η Έκδοση [ELOT 743, 2ī Ekdosī, "ELOT 743, 2nd ed."]. ELOT (Athens), 2001. (Greek).
  8. ^ Unicode. "Unicode Greek code chart", pp. 34, 36.
  9. ^ Thurneysen, Rudolf (1946/1980). A Grammar of Old Irish. trans. D. A. Binchy and Osborn Bergin. Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. p. 25. ISBN 1-85500-161-6.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  10. ^ Scott Pakin (2009-11-09). "The Comprehensive LATEX Symbol List" (PDF) (in German). Retrieved 2013-02-04. 
  11. ^ Jonathan P. Bowen. "Glossary of Z notation" (in German). University of Reading (UK). 
  12. ^ Deborah Anderson, Michael Everson (2001-10-03). "N2378: Final proposal to encode Aegean scripts in the UCS" (PDF, 0,15 MB) (in German). ISO/IEC JTC1/SC2/WG2. Retrieved 2013-02-04.