European Quotation Marks

Did you know that the double quotation mark is older than the single? It derives from a marginal notation used in fifteenth-century manuscript annotations to indicate a passage of particular importance. “Curly quotes”, “Angled quotes”, “Eastern style”… you may have noticed that these little inverted commas don’t have a single unified style throughout Europe. In France for instance, they were modified to an angular shape and were spaced out (« … »). Some authors claim that this was to get a character clearly distinguishable from the apostrophes, the commas and the parentheses. The German tradition preferred the curved quotation marks, the first one at the level of the commas, the second one at the level of the apostrophes („…“). The design and coding blog identified all the different types of quotation marks in use to design this original map and the legend below! 

1. Quotation Marks (“curly quotes”)

“British Style” – English, Irish, Maltese, Dutch (alternative), French (Belgium).

„German Style“ – Bulgarian, Czech, Danish (alternative), Estonian, German, Icelandic, Lithuanian, Slowak, Slowenian, French (Switzerland, Luxembourg).

„Eastern Style” – Albanian, Bosnian, Croatian, Dutch (preferred), Hungarian, Moldovan (Latin), Montenegrian, Serbian, Polish, Romanian.

”Nordic Style” – Danish (alternative), Finnish, Swedish.

2. Guillemets («angled quotes»)

«Tight» – Greek, Italian, Latvian, Norwegian, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Turkish, Ukrainian, French (Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg), Moldovan (Cyrillic).

« Spaced » – French (France).

»Reversed« – Danish (preferred).

If you liked this map, you may also like our article on European Swear Words, Placeholders, Lol and Fillers.