punctus percontativus: difference between revisions

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====Usage notes====
====Usage notes====
* Possible {{l|en|calque|calques}} of {{term||punctus percontativus|lang=en}} include {{term|percontation mark‎|lang=‎en}} and {{term|percontation point|lang=en}}; both are attested in isolated uses (2005, 2010), but neither has gained any currency.
* Possible {{l|en|calque|calques}} of {{term||punctus percontativus|lang=en}} include {{term|percontation mark‎|lang=en}} and {{term|percontation point|lang=en}}; both are attested in isolated uses (2005, 2010), but neither has gained any currency.
====Related terms====
====Related terms====

Revision as of 13:31, 22 May 2013



Latin: punctus (point) + percontativus (percontative) = “percontative point”


punctus percontativus (plural *punctūs percontativi)

  1. A reversed question mark: 〈〉, visually almost identical to the Arabic question mark: 〈؟ (?)〉, used to mark the end of a percontative statement; a rhetorical question mark.
    • 1993, Malcolm Beckwith Parkes, Pause and Effect, glossary, pages 306–307
      punctus percontativus A reversed, but not inverted punctus interrogativus…used in the 16th and 17th centuries to indicate the end of a percontatio.
    • 1995, Julia Briggs, “‘The Lady Vanishes’: Problems of Authorship and Editing in the Middleton Canon” in New Ways of Looking at Old Texts: Papers of the Renaissance English Text Society II: 1992–1996 (1998), ed. William Speed Hill, page 115
      These include Middleton’s…idiosyncratic placing of apostrophes and deployment of punctuation marks — exclamation marks, question marks and a form of reversed question mark which Malcolm Parkes classifies as “punctus percontativus,” associated…with rhetorical questions.
    • 1998, Alastair Fowler in Paradise Lost (2nd ed.), page 9, note 4
      Sometimes we may be encountering the punctus percontativus, used to indicate a rhetorical question.
    • 2002, Torbjörn Lundmark, Quirky QWERTY, page 147
      The medieval question mark had an additional function that has since been lost: a mirror-reversed question mark (called punctus percontativus) signified a rhetorical question that did not expect a direct answer.
    • 2005, John Lennard, The Poetry Handbook (2nd ed.), page 121
      The percontation-mark (or punctus percontativus), the standard Arabic question-mark, indicated ‘percontations’, questions open to any answer or (more loosely) ‘rhetorical questions’, in various books of c.1575–c.1625.
    • 2008, Alexander Humez and Nicholas D. Humez, On the Dot, page 207
      question mark in Arabic (Template:Arab) — Unicode U+061F: A similar mark has been proposed for Unicode that would be identical to the punctus percontativus found in some medieval Western manuscripts whose purpose was to indicate a merely rhetorical question rather than one requiring or at least expecting an answer: “What was the use of sending you to school⸮” (Michael Everson et al., “Proposal to add Medievalist and Iranianist punctuation characters to the UCS” (p. 2).
    • For more examples of usage of this term, see Citations:punctus percontativus.

Usage notes

Related terms