The symbol "" is known as double angle quotation marks or guillemets. Although they are not commonly used in English language writing, they hold significant cultural and linguistic values in certain regions such as East Asia and Europe. In this article, we will explore the origins, usage, and significance of these symbols.
The double angle quotation marks, have their origins in ancient Greek and Roman literature. The usage of these symbols can be traced back to Sophocles, the renowned Greek playwright who used them in his plays to represent dialogues. From Greece, the usage of double angle quotation marks spread to Rome where they were used in manuscripts and books. Over time, these symbols became widely used in French and other European languages for several centuries.
While the usage of double angle quotation marks declined in Europe, they found a new home in East Asia. In modern times, these symbols are primarily used in languages such as Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. In East Asian languages, are used to indicate the titles of books, movies, songs, and other works of literature or art. Additionally, they are used to enclose dialogues and quotations in written texts. The usage of double angle quotation marks in East Asian languages differs slightly from the single angle quotation marks commonly used in English.
The significance of in East Asian cultures extends beyond its linguistic purpose. These symbols are often associated with distinguishing traditional art forms such as calligraphy and ink paintings. Furthermore, they have significant cultural connotations and are seen as a representation of elegance and intellectual pursuit. Thus, the usage of carries a deeper cultural meaning in East Asia.
In the digital age, the double angle quotation marks have gained some adoption outside of East Asia as a stylistic alternative to the commonly used double quotation marks (“ ”). They are frequently used in design, marketing, and artistic contexts to add a unique and aesthetically pleasing touch to text. For example, publishers may use on book covers or promotional materials to give a sense of sophistication and cultural richness. Additionally, typography artists often experiment with fonts and symbols like to create visually engaging text compositions.
The symbol may have originated in ancient Greece, but it has found a lasting home in East Asian cultures. These unique double angle quotation marks have become an integral part of languages such as Chinese, Japanese, and Korean, serving both linguistic and cultural purposes. In modern times, they continue to evolve and find new applications outside of East Asia, captivating designers and artists alike. Whether used in a traditional or contemporary context, will always carry a sense of cultural depth and artistic charm.