A typographical dilemma:

The title of this blog is (...)

(which I have never, btw, had to say out loud until today when somebody asked me what the name of my blog is. What should I say? "Dot dot dot"? "Parenthesis dot dot dot? Parenthesis"? I landed on the latter option, but I suppose the correct name for the blog really should be "deletia", because that's the technical term for the excised text in quotations.)

Anyway: works should always be italicised, thusly: Hamlet, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead, A Five-Act Play Criticising Tom Stoppard For Being Far Too Clever For His Own Good, etc.

But there is also a typographical rule that says that italicised parentheses should be put in the roman font.

Which is to say not this: (but that was in another country and besides, the wench is dead).

But this: (but that was in another country and besides, the wench is dead)

Clearly there are two conflicting typographical rules here. What to do?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

That typographical rule about parantheses does probably not apply to titles. I guess.

May 31, 2007 4:17 pm  
Blogger mrtn said...

The question really is whether the parentheses are part of the title, or punctuation in the title. If the latter, then they should not be italicised, if the former, they should, but then a paradox comes into effect.

May 31, 2007 4:25 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe the correct term for the typographical mark '...' is ellipsis, not deletia. Personally, I would cite the blog name (...) in italics, since it wouldn't be properly marked as a title otherwise. Consider doing it without: Every instance where the blog (...) is mentioned, it would look like something is omitted. That may be correct in the sense that it follows the rules, but typographical rules are really only guidelines.

May 31, 2007 5:56 pm  
Blogger mrtn said...

I see your point about ellipsis but the idea of the title is not the typographical mark, but what it stands for, viz: deletia, that is to say the omitted text. The object which has been deleted. The ellipsis is the act of omission itself.

And I do write the title in italics for just this reason, but I think it's funny that it activates a typographical paradox. (Only guidelines? Rules is rules! so Stop being so flexible,)

May 31, 2007 7:18 pm  
Blogger Mikkel said...


May 31, 2007 9:04 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apparently it's just ... nowadays, but it used to be [...]
- that is, in academic texts, MLA stylee. In other words, no parantheses.

June 01, 2007 3:01 pm  
Blogger mrtn said...

But ... also indicates pauses in the text. So using it as the ellipses is just silly. It either needs to be parentheses or brackets. Either works for me. I used brackets in my thesis.

June 01, 2007 3:04 pm  
Blogger Jarle Petterson said...

Just a small piece of typographic information. In typographic settings three dots, usually typed in order to indicate some sort of pause, constitute a single character, i.e. …, the so-called elipsis, as opposed to ..., or even . . ., both, to my knowledge, nameless alternatives.

Thought maybe you'd like to know. Then again, I supspect you already do.

June 01, 2007 3:17 pm  
Blogger Jarle Petterson said...

For øvrig gir bekjentskaper i pressen ingen blancofullmakt til å influere på valg av overskrift. Dagens forsøk, for eksempel, kunne du nok ha spart deg, syns jeg nok.

Men husk nå endelig å en fortryllende helg lell. ;-)

June 01, 2007 4:42 pm  
Blogger mrtn said...

We're way ahead of you, Jarle. See above. ;)

Og takk! Lett å ha fortryllende helg når man har sin egen vin.

June 02, 2007 9:14 am  
Blogger Jarle Petterson said...

Ah… Which is to say that parenthesis-elipsis-parenthesis in sum make out a deletia?

I stand, if not corrected, then at least enlightened, if you would be so kind as to forgive my reckless misuse of terms. Should've read the comments before commenting, it seems.

Now that I have: Couldn't agree more. There's no way mere elipses signify or indicate the absence or prior extraction of sections or implications, whereas the deletia, of course…

Let's issue a petition in claim of a single-character bracket-elipsis-bracket, this very instance. You can count me in.

June 02, 2007 10:47 am  
Blogger mrtn said...

As I've understood it, deletia is the word for the text that has been cut, that is to say, deletia is what the ellipsis stands for, while ellipsis is the punctuation mark which stands for the elision of something.

My second-last comment is unclear. What I meant was that ... is indeed an ellipsis, and a single typographical mark. However, having ... as an ellipsis *in a quotation* just won't do, because the guy you're quoting could be ellipsing himself. If for instance you had the following text as a quote:

- Give me your money, or else...
- Or else what?
- Or else I'll kick your ass, hit you over the head with a baseball bat..., and you won't even live to regret it.

In this instance, the first ellipsis is just indicating the unstated phrase "I'm going to kick your ass," etc, while the second ellipsis is me cutting out of the quotation all the grisly things this guy is going to do. There's no way to tell the two ellipses apart unless we put the second ellipsis in brackets. We need a way to distinguish between author-ellipses and narrator/character-ellipses.

This conversation reminds me of that scene in the West Wing:

BARTLET: There are fourteen punctuation marks in Standard English grammar. Can anyone name them, please?
C.J.: Period.
JOSH: Comma.
MANDY: Colon.
SAM: Semi-colon.
JOSH: Dash.
SAM: Hyphen.
LEO: Ah... apostrophe.
BARTLET: That's only seven. There are seven more.
TOBY: Question mark, exclamation point, quotation marks, brackets, parentheses, braces
and ellipses.
C.J.: Ooooh.
JOSH: Wow!

June 02, 2007 5:08 pm  
Blogger mrtn said...

Meant to write: and the something that has been elided is deletia.

June 02, 2007 5:08 pm  

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