comma ellipses

Philippe Verdy via Unicode unicode at
Mon Oct 7 03:42:56 CDT 2019

Commas may be used instead of dots by users of French keyboards (it's
easier to type the comma, when the dot/full stop requires pressing the
SHIFT key).
I may be wrong, but I've quire frequently seen commas or semicolons instead
of dot/full stops under normal orthography.
But the web and notably social networks can invent their own "rule":
pretending that the dot/full stop at end of sentence is "aggressive" is
probably a deviation from the English-only designation of the dot as a
"full stop", reinterpreted as "stop talking about this, my sentence is
final, I don't want to give more justification" (when for such case the
user should have better used the exclamation mark!)

Anyway I've never liked the 3-dot ellipsis which just occurs in Unicode for
compatiblity with fixed-width fonts on terminals, just to compact 3 cells
into one (or in CJK styles to replace the "bubble" dots with their 1/2 cell
gap on the right side of each cell, contracting them to three smaller dots
in just one CJK cell).

But another reason could be that using commas instead of dots allows
distinguishing the ellipsis from an abbreviation dot used jut before it. Or
making the distinction to explicitly mark the end of sentence by a regular
dot/full stop after the ellipsis, when the ellipsis could be used in the
middle of a sentence (no clear distinction when what follows the ellipsis
is a proper name starting by a capital or not a word: where is the end of
sentence?) and for which the alternative using comma ellipsis would
explicitly say that the ellipsis does not terminate the sentence as in "I
need to spend $2... $4 to return" (one sentences, the meaning is different
from "I need to spend $2,,, $4 to return" where that comma ellipsis would
be an abbreviation for "between $2 and $4").

Anyway, people of the right to use commas if they prefer it for the
semantics they intend to distinguish. This does not mean that we need to
encode this sequence as a separate unbreakable character like it was done
for the dot ellipsis. Otherwise, we would have to encode "etc." also as a
single character, or we would end up adding also many more leader dots (in
classic metal types regular dots/fullstops were used, but some type
compositors may have liked to use mount a single "..." character to avoid
having to keep them glued or keep them regularly spaced with special
spacers when justifying lines mechanically: this saved them a little time
for compositing rows of metal types). There's no real need for CJK or for
monospaced terminals to get a more compact presentation. And for regular
text, just using multiple separate commas will still render as intended.
And metal types are no longer used.

Personnally I don't like the 3-dot ellipsis character because it plays
badly even in monospaced fonts. And there's no demonstrated use where a
single 3-commas ellipsis character would have to be distinguished
semantically and visually from 3 separate commas.

If people want to use ",,," for their informal speech on social networks,
or in chat sessions, they can do that today without needing any new
character and a new keyboard layout or input method. And nobody will really
know if this ",,," was mistyped instead of "..." to avoid pressing SHIFT on
a French AZERTY keyboard (not extended by a numeric keypad where the
dot/full stop may also be typed easily without SHIFT). As well a French
typist could have used ";;;" with semicolons when forgetting to press the
SHIFT key.

If we encode ",,," as a single character, then why not "???" or "!!!", or
"----", or "**", or and many other variants mixing multiple punctuation
signs or symbols (like "$$" as an "angry" mark or the abbreviation for
"costly", then also "€€" or "££"...) Then also why not "eeeeeee" or
"hmmmmmmmm" for noting hesitations? This would become endless, without any
limit: Unicode would ten start encoding millions of whole words of
thousands languages as single characters, much more than the whole existing
set of CJK ideographs (including its extensions in nearly two planes).
Interoperability would worsen.

Le lun. 7 oct. 2019 à 01:14, Tex via Unicode <unicode at> a écrit :

> Now that comma ellipses (,,,) are a thing (at least on social media) do we
> need a character proposal?
> Asking for a friend,,, J
> tex
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