French typography : automatic no-break before ? ; : !

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ID
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French typography : automatic no-break before ? ; : !

Post by ID » Sat Mar 31, 2007 9:00 pm

Hi everybody!

This is my first post, I hope it will work!


In French, one has to insert a space before the "!", "?", ":" and ";", just like before the french quotation mark.

Je vous donne un exemple : Vous voyez ? Je laisse un espace avant ces signes ; dans les autres langues on colle le signe à la lettre du dernier mot, mais pas en « français » !

Of course, one cannot just type a space: you could get something like

Au secours
!

which isn't indeed very interesting.

So you should insert a no-break space, but this is rather a long procedure for very common things to type.

When I select the French quotation in the Mellel preferences, Mellel automatically set a no-break space at the right place. Why not implement this not only for French quotation but also for ? ; : and ! in the Typography preferences ?

Or we also could do like MS Word : if you select French as typing language, Word automatically inserts a narrow no-break space before ; : ? and !

Regarding the poll : writing French without this feature really is a problem, which makes Mellel not the leading Word processor for Mac os X... So in my opinion, it is urgent (because otherwise Mellel would be the leading one). But how many do actually use Mellel for writing French ?

Reiner
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Re: French typography : automatic no-break before ? ; : !

Post by Reiner » Sun Apr 01, 2007 7:39 am

ID wrote:So you should insert a no-break space, but this is rather a long procedure for very common things to type.
This is not an argument against your request for automically inserted narrow non-break-spaces, which sounds very useful as you suggested. But you can easily insert no-break-spaces without using the mouse and clicking through the menu: Just use the spacebar while holding option-key pressed.

If I'm not wrong there are no shortcuts for other spaces, what would be very handy too.
Reiner

ID
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Shortcut

Post by ID » Sun Apr 01, 2007 4:29 pm

Thank you for the shortcut, Reiner: you prove you know everything!

It will be very useful to me, so long as we have to wait for the automatic insertion, which, I'm sure, will be implemented one day in Mellel.

Auf Wiederlesen!

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Re: French typography : automatic no-break before ? ; : !

Post by ealvarez » Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:17 am

ID wrote: But how many do actually use Mellel for writing French ?
I do! And I would be curious to know how many we are too! : )

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Re: French typography : automatic no-break before ? ; : !

Post by Mart°n » Tue Sep 08, 2009 9:46 pm

In the meantime you could either use one of the “type it for me” applications like

• Typinator http://www.macility.com/products/typinator/
• TextExpander http://smileonmymac.com/TextExpander/
• TypeIt4Me http://ettoresoftware.com/EttoreSoftwar ... It4Me.html or
• Presto http://www.app4mac.com/store/index.php? ... rrency=eur

to automatically replace a typed “?” by a “narrow-nobreakspace+?” or use Mellel’s find and replace feature to build a set of find & replace actions leading to the same goal. Such a set could search for “space+?” and replace it with “narrow-nobreakspace+?” and the like for all the other characters like ; ! and :

Then you could run the action from time to time to update your document.

Not the most elegant solution but maybe a workaround until the feature will be built into Mellel.

palazzo
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Re: French typography : automatic no-break before ? ; : !

Post by palazzo » Fri Sep 11, 2009 2:21 am

I do, and I agree the next best thing to having a narrow space shortcut is to do a search and replace. Other than that, I have issues with the US-International keyboard layout interfering with the "smart" quotes functionality. Explanation: since double quotes in the US-Intl keylayout dubs as trema/umlaut and single quote as acute accent, when I type them they just sit there waiting for a combination key. Mellel then won't recognize the quotes as quotes and they aren't "smarted" (or « smarted » or »smarted« or ‚smarted‘ or whatever) but stay straight and ugly. Word, OpenOffice and Pages do however treat these quotes properly as soon as they notice the quotes haven't combined to form accents.
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Re: French typography : automatic no-break before ? ; : !

Post by suavito » Sat Sep 12, 2009 8:48 pm

And when the typography features are overhauled please don't forget to add an apostrophe function like Leopard already had in a very smooth version and Snow Leopard in a not so smooth anymore version:

A single ' can be an opening or closing single quotation mark—which could in German look like this: ›text‹.
Or it could be an apostrophe, when it is [alphanumerical]'[alphanumerical], for example: it’s.

Mellel has allowed to choose the kind of quotation marks you want (in German there are three different kinds you can choose from) for quite some time. Apps using the Apple text system only have this since 10.6. But Mellel need an apostrophe substitution as it is very annoying when only almost every program does this and you have to keep an eye on this. (Text expansions apps are of no help because as far as I know not a single one works with regular expressions which you would have to here.)
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Re: French typography : automatic no-break before ? ; : !

Post by rpcameron » Sat Sep 12, 2009 9:34 pm

suavito wrote:And when the typography features are overhauled please don't forget to add an apostrophe function like Leopard already had in a very smooth version and Snow Leopard in a not so smooth anymore version:

A single ' can be an opening or closing single quotation mark—which could in German look like this: ›text‹.
Or it could be an apostrophe, when it is [alphanumerical]'[alphanumerical], for example: it’s.

Mellel has allowed to choose the kind of quotation marks you want (in German there are three different kinds you can choose from) for quite some time. Apps using the Apple text system only have this since 10.6. But Mellel need an apostrophe substitution as it is very annoying when only almost every program does this and you have to keep an eye on this. (Text expansions apps are of no help because as far as I know not a single one works with regular expressions which you would have to here.)
The substitution of ([a-zA-Z0-9])'([a-zA-Z0-9]) to \1’\2 should not be the only way that ' becomes ’. What about elisions? Such as ’Ello? or ’cause? Or for numbers: Back in ’92 … If ([a-zA-Z0-9])'([a-zA-Z0-9]) to \1’\2 were to be used as the only basis, then all three of those examples would be typeset incorrectly, still requiring user intervention. I agree that the current situation is not optimal, but I haven't seen something better yet …
— Robert Cameron

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Re: French typography : automatic no-break before ? ; : !

Post by ptram » Wed Sep 16, 2009 5:14 pm

Within a few month, I will have to write in French very often. Is it mandatory to insert that space before punctuation, or is this optional? I hate it. Please let me avoid it without being plainly wrong...

Paolo

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Re: French typography : automatic no-break before ? ; : !

Post by rpcameron » Wed Sep 16, 2009 6:57 pm

ptram wrote:Within a few month, I will have to write in French very often. Is it mandatory to insert that space before punctuation, or is this optional? I hate it. Please let me avoid it without being plainly wrong...

Paolo
No, it is not necessary, but it is the accepted practice. Not inserting the space is similar to using “” for quotations instead of «» (and —). When you write in a particular language, it is best to follow the standards and practices of typography/style for that language. For French, this means inserting a non-breaking space before ; : ? ! », and after « —.
— Robert Cameron

suavito
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Re: French typography : automatic no-break before ? ; : !

Post by suavito » Wed Sep 16, 2009 7:47 pm

rpcameron wrote: The substitution of ([a-zA-Z0-9])'([a-zA-Z0-9]) to \1’\2 should not be the only way that ' becomes ’. What about elisions? Such as ’Ello? or ’cause? Or for numbers: Back in ’92 … If ([a-zA-Z0-9])'([a-zA-Z0-9]) to \1’\2 were to be used as the only basis, then all three of those examples would be typeset incorrectly, still requiring user intervention. I agree that the current situation is not optimal, but I haven't seen something better yet …
I totally agree to you both in the point that this substitution does not cover all cases of apostrophes and that I haven't seen anything better yet. The Leopard substitution—and Bean’s!—just were the best I know.

As far as I can see it the substitution algorithm CAN not cover all cases. Because it would need some understanding of the text which it of course does not have. You might think of adding a list of common elisions like ’cause and let the user add more to that list. This should somehow collaborate with the spelling correction. But even if that worked it would only be still no more than approximately.
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Re: French typography : automatic no-break before ? ; : !

Post by moineau » Sat Jun 15, 2013 10:14 am

This topic is six years old, but 3.2 is not there yet... :shock:

Please do something about automatic non-break spaces for French, your program is great!

EDIT - :idea:
As for now, the only way to auto insert narrow non-break space is the Find / Replace function (copy/paste your sign with its nb space in the replace window) -- better than nothing.

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Re: French typography : automatic no-break before ? ; : !

Post by JFM » Mon Aug 12, 2013 8:58 pm

Indeed, it would be nice to have the option with a narrow non-break space. I am French-speaking too: in the meantime, when I want to have the space, I use the spacebar + option key. However, I think this creates a normal space, and not a narrow one. For getting a narrow one, I had created my own combination, using Ukulele. It worked with some of the most common fonts, although not with all word processors.

In case the narrow non-break space becomes available, it should not automatically be activated with the use of the French language, but be an option. Indeed, while I think it is a good idea to follow this typographical rule, it is not universal: in my native Switzerland, the space before some signs is not required by local typography, although some people adopt it nevertheless. Thus Paolo could say he has embraced the "Swiss option"...

And yes, I do quite often write texts in French with Mellel. There are probably quite a number of Mac users doing it, since Mellel is so pleasant for typing (although I continue to be sometimes perplexed by its peculiar ways of approaching things, but if one learns how to use it, it works).

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Re: French typography : automatic no-break before ? ; : !

Post by marcloup » Tue Mar 26, 2019 8:57 am

Back to this topic six years later.... It seems that nothing really changed since 2013, or maybe I am wrong.

Did anyone find a better way than copy/paste to insert narrow no-break spaces?

I also have a new problem, when I type the apostrophe I get this ['], but I would like to get this [’], which on my keyboard corresponds to the shortcut (cap+option+!).

Does anyone know a better way to get a curved apostrophe?

Yes I'm another one using mellel for writing in French.

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Re: French typography : automatic no-break before ? ; : !

Post by jannuss » Tue Mar 26, 2019 5:02 pm

Hi Marcoup,

The question of straight versus curved apostrophes is also a font issue.

With an American English keyboard, cap-option-] gives a right-curving apostrophe for some fonts and q right-straight one for others.
Similarly, cap-option-[ sometimes gives a left-curving apostrophe and sometimes left-straight.

I tried using the French keyboard and found the left-curving apostrophe under cap-option-4
But, again it's font dependent

Now, please explain what is the issue with a-and-q and w-and-z and help; I can't find the question mark !!

Janet

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