https://www.duolingo.com/Balaur

Russian dash punctuation

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This isn't another question about when to use the dash or what it means, but rather I'd like to know which dash to use (I searched and couldn't find another discussion about this topic, so excuse me if it's already been asked). I've seen both and - being used. After doing a quick scan through the discussions, it seems that the former tends to be used in the sentences throughout the course, while the latter tends to be used by helpful users (native or advanced speakers), usually explaining the usage of the dash (or, interestingly enough, the sentences in the Ukrainian course seem to exclusively use the latter). I'm able to type both easily on my Russian keyboard. Are they interchangeable? Is one more standard/correct than the other?

Which of the following is preferable?

  • Эти девочки — сёстры.
  • Эти девочки - сёстры.
11/13/2015, 5:39:39 PM

25 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/olimo
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The correct Russian dash is m-dash (—). However, it is not present in the standard keyboard layout (as well as the correct Russian «quotes» and „nested quotes“). So Russian only use the proper typographics in books and other printed editions, and also on the web if the site is serious enough. When commenting on forums or chatting, everyone uses standard "straight" quotes and a hyphen surrounded by spaces - like this - instead of the dash.

Curiously enough, MS Word auto-replaces " - " with " – " (en-dash), so this version is also popular, especially in the printed announcements, etc. The correct dash is em-dash, though.

11/13/2015, 5:46:43 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/BrookeLorren
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Thank you. I had seen the Russian quotes in the lessons and tried to find them on the йцукенг keyboard without any luck, as well as the em-dash. Good to know that ordinary Russians don't use them either when typing stuff online.

11/14/2015, 7:21:56 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/goldbedr

I find it so odd that russian quote symbols aren't present on the russian keyboard.

11/17/2015, 4:46:37 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/olimo
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Well, are the proper English quotes (not "straight", but “curly”) and the proper dash on the keyboard?

11/17/2015, 4:58:00 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/goldbedr

Hmm...good point. Certain programs edit them in to replace standins (if you write a hyphen and then a word then it subs in a dash, etc) automatically, but I suppose they are not on the keyboard. Which is odd in and of itself!

11/17/2015, 5:08:54 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/olimo
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To add an opening and a closing quote mark, and also both hyphen and a dash, you need two more keys than you'd need for one straight quote and just a hyphen. Consider nested quotes - two more keys, here you go.

With Russian localization, MS Word also auto-replaces "quotes" with «chevrons» :-)

11/17/2015, 5:11:37 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Balaur
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Thank you for your explanation! After looking into this further, I realize that the Russian Phonetic keyboard on my Mac has a hyphen (-) and an em-dash (—) available (the two I typed in my original post above), while the Finnish Extended keyboard I use for languages in the Latin alphabet has a hyphen (-) and an en-dash (–) as well as an em-dash (—) available. Also, my Russian keyboard has no problems typing either the «Russian quotes» or the „nested quotes“.

Edit: Formatting

11/13/2015, 6:18:52 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/LICA98
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I also use the Finnish extended keyboard :)

11/15/2015, 5:23:34 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Balaur
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It's so convenient!

11/18/2015, 2:17:13 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/LICA98
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Yeah, I also live in Finland so that's another reason of using it

11/18/2015, 11:23:08 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Jeffrey855877
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On Windows, the em-dash can be inserted by holding down the Alt key and pressing 0151 (in succession, not all at once) on the keypad, then letting go of the Alt key: —

The Russian quotation marks are:
Alt-0171: «
Alt-0187: »

Some other Alt-key codes:
€ ALT+0128
£ ALT+0163
© ALT+0169
ª ALT+0170 (Feminine Ordinal)
® ALT+0174
º ALT+0186 (Masculine Ordinal)
¿ ALT+0191 ¡ ALT+0161
ç ALT+0231
÷ ALT+0247
§ ALT+0167
æ ALT+0230
œ ALT+0156

8/4/2018, 1:36:48 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/Dilectiss
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I believe you can type the em-dash with option + shift + minus keys on a mac. The en-dash can be done without the shift. There should be a similar command for other systems.

11/6/2018, 7:38:25 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/draquila

As long as we're talking about the dash, I'd like to know if it represents an audible pause, or is just a writing convention.

11/13/2015, 6:10:44 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/olimo
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It represents a pause. I can't think of an example where it doesn't, but maybe other native speakers will provide them.

11/13/2015, 6:45:40 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Shady_arc
Mod
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Actually, it doesn't represent any pause in sentences like «Мой отец — учитель» or "Я люблю мандарины, а моя мама — яблоки". You can make a pause there if you really wish to, but, you know, you can make a pause in many places where there is no punctuation whatsoever.

It is the same with commas, which usually do not represent any pause. They just hint at the structure of the sentence and the possible intonation required.

11/13/2015, 6:52:29 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/olimo
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I'd make a small pause in your second example, but as to the first, I agree, the pause is rarely heard there. Thanks for chiming in!

11/13/2015, 6:55:21 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Larisa_L
Mod
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I make a small pause there too, but it is very short. However I emphasize the word after the dash and that's the main difference for me.

11/14/2015, 11:09:55 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/alex_tv80
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I also think that the dash always represents a pause.

11/13/2015, 6:52:52 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/Romain-D
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"I searched and couldn't find another discussion about this topic, so excuse me if it's already been asked."

https://www.duolingo.com/comment/11473299

It was kind of hidden, though. ;)

Спасибо олимо ещё раз!))

11/13/2015, 10:07:08 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/broca23

I'm only a beginner but the pattern I noticed is that the long dash is used to replace 'to be' and the short dash is used to hyphenate words

e.g.

Я — американка

по-русски

I hope someone chimes in with the explanation

11/13/2015, 5:45:49 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/olimo
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In casual written speech (if I may say so), like on Facebook or other internet resources, people only use hyphens, but when they actually mean a dash, they surround the hyphen with spaces. Дженни - американка, но говорит по-русски :-)

Note that the dash is not needed when the subject is a pronoun. "Дженни - американка" BUT "Я американка" (no dash). To always use dash is a very common mistake of the native Russian speakers.

11/13/2015, 5:49:19 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/broca23

Ah, thanks!

11/13/2015, 5:51:03 PM

https://www.duolingo.com/geneven
Plus
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To always use a hyphen is a very common mistake of native English speakers. I think that most Americans don't know what an em-dash is. They think that dashes and hyphens are the same thing.

I was taught that an em-dash was slightly shorter than an actual dash. The hyphen can also be called an en-dash.

As I recall, some software replaces two hyphens with an em-dash automatically, so instead of looking for the em-dash you just type -- .

11/14/2015, 5:35:01 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/olimo
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The "actual" dash is an m-dash: —. The n-dash is shorter: –. And this is the hyphen: -.

11/14/2015, 6:32:15 AM

https://www.duolingo.com/akshan
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dash does not represent any pause in your speech.

11/13/2015, 10:29:25 PM
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