‘English’, „German”, « French » and «Spanish»

I’m not a big fan of the adjective ‘jaw-dropping’, but I actually caught my mandible falling just now. So there: here is a jaw-dropping map by Jakub Marian.

European languages are of course widely, often wildly different in many ways, from grammar and vocabulary to phonology and spelling. That’s what my book Lingo was all about. But somehow, I seem to have overlooked the matter of punctuation. Okay, the famous Spanish ¿ and ¡ get a look-in, but that’s about it. Nothing about commas, colons, semicolons, single versus double spaces and, singularly regrettable, nothing about quotation marks. And what a gap that is, I now know. I was aware that English, French and German tend to write these humble signs very differently, but I had no idea that Europe as a whole was such a fascinating jungle of punctuational diversity.

The picture here is just a detail; click on it, and you’ll get Marian’s map of the whole continent, with a few paragraphs of explanation. Enjoy!

aanhaling

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