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Guillemets, also called angle quotes, are line segments, pointed as if arrows (« or »), forming a complementary set of punctuation marks used as a form of quotation mark. The symbol at either end — « or » — is a guillemet (pronounced [ˈgij:me]).
Guillemets are often produced with double inequality characters (<< or >>) or double chevrons (〈〈 or 〉〉) particularly on computers with operating systems or computer keyboards that do not have support for the actual characters.
In Unicode, the « character is called "left-pointing double angle quotation mark", and exists at code point U+00AB (HTML entity «), whilst the » character is named "right-pointing double angle quotation mark", and is located at code point U+00BB (HTML entity »). The characters are mirrored when used in right-to-left contexts, which makes them not really "left-pointing" and "right-pointing", but opening and closing.
Used pointing outwards («like this») to indicate speech in these languages:
- French (separated by spaces « like this »)
- German (only in Switzerland)
- European Portuguese
- Swiss languages
Used pointing inwards (»like this«) to indicate speech in these languages:
- German (outside of Switzerland)
Used pointing right (»like this») to indicate speech in these languages:
(Source: Quotation mark)
Used in Unified Modeling Language to indicate a stereotype of a standard element.
The word derives as a diminutive of the French name Guillaume (whose equivalent in English is William), implying someone of that name originated or popularised its use. Some languages have made use of this: the Irish term is Liamóg, from Liam 'William' and a diminutive suffix.
In Adobe Systems font software, their file format specifications, and in all fonts derived from these that contain the characters, the word is incorrectly spelled guillemot, which is a species of auk, in the names of the two glyphs "guillemotleft" and "guillemotright". Adobe notes the error but points out that the incorrect names are the ones actually used in existing fonts and software; presumably, it is too late to change it, as it would break existing software.
- ^ Adobe Systems Inc., PostScript Language Reference 3rd edition, Addison Wesley 1999. ISBN 0-201-37922-8. Character set endnote 3, page 783.
- Angle bracket
- Computer keyboard
- Quotation mark