Tu / Você

In your Beginners section, Tu / Você, you incorrectly say that "você és is 3rd person. I believe you meant to say that Você is 2nd person plural or 2nd person formal for "you." (<-- By the way, in all languages printed in modern times, all punctuation goes before the final quote mark. It is now a publishing standard.)

February 9, 2013


To add to this, in Spanish it is actually improper to put the period inside the quote mark. Here is a link from RAE (Real Academia Española), which is the accepted governing body of the Spanish language (similar to the Duden for German):

Dear Luis, thank you. What you're saying is tantamount to claiming that in the English language the OED is the only authority . . . You're right, from a narrow position, but ultimately not right . . . True, what the RAE has said. It also says that "buenisimo" does not exist, and that the correct form is "bonísimo."No one in South America, except the Ecuadorians, uses the "correct form," since the RAE does not recognize regionalisms. The Ecuadorians "correctly" say "bonísimo" because they learned how to say it from a State-run educational drive on television in 1991. (There are many more examples, of which All users of the incorrect forms staunchly, even bellicosely defend their use as correct.) Publishers, especially in Barcelona, are beginning to join the global trend toward publications reaching a broader audience, instead of frustrating readers from other languages. I agree that falling back on the rules makes good sense, but does not take into account the evolution of language (again, please read all of my other comments). -D.C. P.S. By the way, thank you . . . I suscribe to La Rochefoucauld's famous words: "Where you find two men who agree, you find only one of them thinking."

. . . Another thing: there are no good translations, only inspired interpretations.

>By the way, in all languages printed in modern times, all punctuation goes before the final quote mark. It is now a publishing standard.

Is it, though? What about British English and German?

I believe you are right. I recall the book Eats, Shoots and Leaves saying that in Britain it is common to place the punctuation outside of quotes, unless the quotes contain a full sentence. But I'm from the U.S. and I usually write that way too because I think it makes more sense.

Yes, Not only ALL kinds of English, but all major publishing houses throughout the world have been explaining to publishers in all languages since 1991 that they SHOULD observe the internationally adopted norm. Although we read millions of books in all languages that do not place punctuation inside the final quote mark, the trend is towards making that universal. (I'm a published journalist since 1957, interpreter and translator for the UN, communications consultant for the last 6 years for Pfizer, head of two English and one Spanish language departments in two universities . . . and still learning, but woefully ignorant! -Douglas Chapman

For German the rule is: punctuation goes inside the quotation marks if it is part of the quote and outside if it is part of the surrounding sentence. So:

  1. Wer kennt das Theaterstück "Der Stellvertreter"?

  2. Sie fragte: "Wie geht es dir?"

Two things: 1.) You have written the second example in German correctly, according to what I wrote, and to modern, corrected German editorial policy (quote marks outside). 2.) Apparently you didn't read all of what I wrote above: "Although . . . universal." Before the Internet such change was glacial; now it happens in a matter of 3 or 4 decades!

I did read your whole post and I'm still not convinced. But even if you were right, the authoritative source for German orthography is the Duden and duolingo should stick to it. BTW, I don't know of any (!) German publisher or newspaper that follows your rule, yet. The Duden doesn't even mention it as a proposed alternative. Maybe in 3 or 4 decades, things will be different. But I don't see the relevance for today's language learning sites.

I agree with you completely on the laudable rightness of Duolingo following general, standard structure. It's important for students to have that security. No argument. However, in learning any language, it is good to arm one's self with as many understandable alternatives as possible. (A prime example is the stubborn insistence of Spanish speaking people in the financial world on not changing from their French system of ordinal number punctuation to the universally-used Italian system; e.g. 3,444,555,123.095 in Italian, rather than 1'333'444.555.123,095 in most of the Spanish speaking world, and 1,333,444.555.123,095 in certain Latin American countries.

Can you please name a major German publisher that follows your rule?

I seriously doubt this is a universal trend. I don't see any signs of this happening in German, let alone French.

Please re-read all of what I wrote above, instead of selecting what you might disagree with (<-- You see, it took 60 years for the worlds of teaching and publishing to officially accept ending a sentence with a preposition.) By the way, not that other languages are not equally culturally, emotionally, and politically important, but print in English since the 1960s accounts for nearly 60% of all that has been published in the Western world, while Spanish for nearly 20%. German, Portuguese, and the rest have been slow to accept international print norms, but just as the Royal Academy of Madrid has been slow to recognize the need to use quotes instead of dashes to denote conversation, Barcelona, principal publishing center of the Spanish-speaking world, has made the change, although Buenos Aires, predictably, has not. (Changing the subject ever so slightly, on the Internet and elsewhere you will find that nearly 5 times as many German-authored books are published in English as there are in German.) -D. Chapman (P.S. I sincerely respect your comment, but please try not to "seriously" doubt, unless you can support your assertion.)

I wrote “seriously doubt” because I’ve never (sic) seen the American style in German. To clarify, I’m talking about cases where the quotation is only part of the sentence.

Er sagte „auf Wiedersehen”.

In cases where the quotation makes up the entire sentence, German has always used outside quotation marks. This is not a recent development.

Also, allow me to complete the quote from

B. When ending a quotation with “he said” or “she asked,” German follows British-English style punctuation, placing the comma outside of the quotation mark rather than inside, as in American English: „Das war damals in Berlin”, sagte Paul. „Kommst du mit?”, fragte Luisa.”

Anyway, I fail to understand the need for international print norms with regard to this issue. There’s absolutely no need to standardise the use of quotation marks across languages or dialects. No style is inherently better than the other.

By the way, even in English the American style may not be as popular as suggested.

NO PROBLEM, Wataya: (LOOK BELOW FOR DUAL RULES ON GERMAN QUOTES IN USE.) Wataya, it's "WOULD you . . ." not "can." (Will the British learn English one day?) Please go to the following page for ENGLISH on quote rules: This for GERMAN: : 1. Anführungszeichen (Quotation Marks)

A. German uses two types of quotation marks in printing. “Chevron” style marks (French “guillemets”) are often used in modern books:

Er sagte: «Wir gehen am Dienstag.» or Er sagte: »Wir gehen am Dienstag.« In writing, in newspapers, and in many printed documents German also uses quotation marks that are similar to English except that the opening quotation mark is below rather than above: Er sagte: „Wir gehen am Dienstag.” (Note that unlike English, German introduces a direct quotation with a colon rather than a comma.)

In email, on the Web, and in hand-written correspondence, German-speakers today often use normal international quotation marks (“ ”) or even single quote marks (‘ ’). THERE'S MUCH MORE; PLEASE GO TO THE LINK ABOVE.

Thanks. However, both links aren't relevant to my question. As we all did make our points, I suggest we just stop here.

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