I'm trying to design a conscript for my conlang Atili and would like to create punctuation in order to deliminate sentences and transcribe limited prosody. However, I don't just want to create new symbols for the full stop, comma, colon, semicolon, etc. I am especially cautious of non-terminating punctuation and how it can be used differently from in English.

I'm aware of distinctions like the Oxford comma and Spanish inverted punctuation, so I know that punctuation is not universal. How do other languages use punctuation differently from English?


In fact, each language has its own punctuation rules that have to be learned. German is very different in its punctuation rules from English (relative sentences always require a comma, dependent clauses are separated from the main clause by a comma, but no "Oxford comma" and no comma after sentence-initial adverbials. Studying the rules of punctuation for some non-English languages should give you an idea of how things can be regulated differently.

I also learned that Russian and Kyrgyz and probably other languages have more ellispis-type multiple punctuations like !.. and ?.. and even !?. and ?!..

And than there are creative extensions to punctuation like the interrobang ‽, its inverted counterpart gnaborretni ⸘ and lots of proposals for an Irony mark.

  • 3
    I recall one of the members of the localization team for the Ace Attorney series mentioning that they had to figure out when and where to delete ellipses (...) from the Japanese text when translating to English -- both use them, but Japanese uses them way more and using them the same amount in the English would feel weird. So even where the rules aren't very different (afaik ellipses are allowed pretty much anywhere in both languages), usage can differ in notable ways. A lot to think about! – Sparksbet Jun 29 '20 at 22:58
  • Never seen ?!. or !?.. But sometimes ?.. !.. ?!! – Victor VosMottor Jul 10 '20 at 17:14

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