IGS Discussion Forums: Learning GS Topics: Your Own Quotations Marks Practice
Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Wednesday, December 20, 2006 - 10:41 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

My feelings on this have not changed. The "greater culture" of which we are a part uses single quotation marks to literally denote the word, exactly as in my article.

Double quotes, used as "scare quotes" including the two handed "two fingers" visual symbol is simply not consistent with using a single quote mark in writing as an "extensional device". We in general semantics have a better chance of communicating if our use of quotation marks does not have to be mentally or actually translated by another reader.

The word 'word' has four letters.

If you define a word, you use italics, but if italics are not available, double quotes will do.

John said, "He felt sick." This is not about John, and we don't know who the referent is.
John said, he felt sick. This is about John.

When we use a word with a special meaning, it should be in double quotes for the above reason, because it indicates that we may mean something somewhat different from the usual meaning of the word. In other words, the reader may not know what the "true" referent is (the referent intended by the speaker in this case).

In "The essence of character is motive." "essence" (the word 'essence') does not need quotations because "essence" normally means the single most important and identifying characteristic.

Because general semantics eschews the use of the term 'essence' does not mean we must use "scare quotes" when we use it according to its culturally current standard definition.

The letter 's' appears in the word 'essence' twice.

The word 'etcetera' is a perfectly good word used in English, and it is designated an "extensional device" in general semantics.
Double quotation marks is a perfectly good device used in English, when used as scare quotes, to indicate that the meaning may be opaque. We do not need to alter this for the general semantic context. Doing so is rather parochial and cultish.

We can call double quotation marks and the paired double finger gesture ("scare quotes") an extensional device without having to change the written form to something inconsistent with the majority of the time-binding record.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Wednesday, December 20, 2006 - 02:39 pm Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail

I simply noted that convention allows us to drop the quotation marks when there is another indicator that we are talking about the word.

I like the word 'read'. Math-logic-philosophy usage
I like the word "read". A common usage.
I like the word read. Less format convention.

These correspond to technical, formal, and informal.

We don't really need the single (or double quotes) because we have the verbal indicator (the word "word" [or 'word']) that tells us what the referent is.

I can only trust the reader to interpret my words with his or her own experiences, so in the interest of reducing ambiguity I tend to be much more wordy. So I may lose my audience due to ambiguity, or I may lose my audience due to the appearance of excessive pedantic wordiness.

To my "mind", if we put a common word in scare quotes, like in the beginning of this sentence, it alerts the reader to interpretational ambiguity. Most of the words that have been labeled as elementalisms are eschewed, so I should not even use a word that would otherwise be marked as an elementalism. I'm expected to speak of body-mind rather than "mind". In the present case, the phraseology should be reformulated so as to better indicate the referent, such as "to my way of thinking" or "to my understanding" or "in my opinion". Such a reformulation does not use the word "mind" - a word which general semantics deems both an elementalism and to have eschewed metaphysical associations.

Using double quotes alerts readers that the word is being used in a non-conventional way (an opaque context). Those familiar with general semantics will be reminded that this usage alerts the reader to various problems with meaning for the term. Those not familiar with general semantics may not know that we may intended to use an elementalism - for want of a better word or for want of a better wording - or to speak of an eschewed concept (in spite of it's being eschewed), but they will know that we deem something "funny" about the normal usage of the word.

In either case we do not need single quotation marks to perform this function.

Author: Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr. (diogenes) Friday, December 22, 2006 - 07:27 am Link to this messageView profile or send e-mail