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Subject: Re: [docbook-apps] Apostrophe in docbook document

Hi all

Having consulted the Lady of the House over a cocktail or two, I think 
we understand the problem and have a solution (given a decision what an 
apostrophe should look like on paper.)

We have (at least) three logical symbols:
1. a singular possessive - this is Ron' book
2. a plral posessive - these the are mens' books
3. a missing word ain't (or old English an't)

In principle we need three different symbols, **BUT** these different 
symbols are only needed for computerized searches, not for visual 
scanning by humans, of text.  The principle is already implemented in 
XML:  different U-codes can point to the same symbol.

So we want four different Ucode points, possibly !amiss;, !asing;, and 
!aplur: and !apos;, the first three of which point to the symbol 
currently ’ and the fourth which points to ' (I use ! instead 
of & to avoid any mis-interpretation of symbols by my email software 

Given these pointers in Ucode any software can unambiguously parse any 
XML code.  Any human will (or should be intelligent enough to) read the 
visual display and interpret correctly the meaning of the symbol correctly.

But what should the (single) symbol look like on paper?  The Lady of the 
House is quite clear on this - "at school I was taught my Mr. Webster 
that an apostrophe was a 'small filled in 9' raised above the line", 
rather 'like a comma, which is a small filled in 9 on the line and 
projecting below'".

I defer totally to Mr. Webster (whoever he was) and to the Lady of the 
House - Jacqui Holland-Bradley, as she was then known, and the lady who 
introduced IP-networking to the British and European community when the 
Telcos of the UK and Europe were all saying "we will never do this 
Internet thing over here - OSI is the way to go".  Anybody remember OSI?

As a matter of total irrelevance to the apostrophe question, Jacqui 
hosted and organized the first occasion at her IPNetworking conference 
in 1991 when the USSR (as it was then) connected to the Internet.  As 
such she speaks with the authority of, 'she who must be obeyed' (and if 
you haven't met Rumpole of the Bailey, your education is sadly 
incomplete - Jacqui worked out of Gray's Inn)!


Christopher R. Maden wrote:
> Hash: SHA1
> Mathieu Malaterre wrote:
>> Hi there,
>>  I would like to know what are people using for there apostrophe in there
>> docbook document ? There are 4 contestants:
>> 1 ’ (curly on UTF-8 system)
>> 2 ’
>> 3 '
>> 4 ’
>> #3 is the fastest to type. #2 and #4 are ugly to read when editing the .xml
>> file using text file. How about solution #1 ?
> №s 1, 2, and 4 are exactly the same.  The XML parser will treat them
> identically (assuming the rsquo entity is defined correctly).
> While №s 2 and 4 are ugly to read, they are easy to type; further, № 2
> is much easier to remember than № 4.  № 1 is very hard to type for most
> people; I have the kind of brain that remembers character codes, and I
> don’t mind typing Ctrl-Shift-U 2 0 1 9 SPACE in order to enter it (in a
> GNOME system), or & ' 9 (in an RFC 1345 environment like Emacs), or
> Alt-0146 in Windows, but I really don’t expect anyone else to do that.
> Someday, someone will create an affordable, usable keyboard with proper
> punctuation on it...  Until then, I recommend № 2.
> ~Chris
> - --
> Chris Maden, text nerd  <URL: http://crism.maden.org/ >
> “The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of
>  the human mind to correlate all its contents.” — H.P. Lovecraft
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Ron Catterall Ph.D. D.Sc.

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