alternate hyphens for word breaking
verdy_p at wanadoo.fr
Thu Apr 30 17:53:20 CDT 2015
I've seen several usages of a distinct hyphen being used in English
dictionaries where it appears for breaking words (sometimes even not
between syllables but at arbitrary positions within words).
This hyphen is slightly different from a regular hyphen: it is slanted
about 30° (2 o'clock), and a bit longer than standard orthographic hyphens
(more or less the length of an en dash, the difference being that it is
still not horizontal).
Some other books are also using some wavy forms (slanted tilde), or a
curved form similar to a mirrored "¬" (except that the angle is rounded),
or something like a small "/¯" or a small "_/" (here also with a rounded
It is typically used in books printed in small formats, with narrow
columns, and compacted presentation (to save the number of printed pages
and reduce the volume of the book). I've seen them also in some pocket
version of the Bible or other economic books in pocket format (including
litterature, tourist guides, phone diaries in small formats).
In technical documentations such as documents providing source code, it is
used to indicate the presence of a force line break which is not part of
the source code itself (in which cases other typical forms include some
arrow head, or the hyphen has some diacritical ellipsis above it, or the
hyphen or another symbols is decorated by some enclosing dotted box)
Have you seen other forms for these special hyphens (used exclusively at
end of line, and aligned with the right margin of text columns)?
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