Do other "languages" use "scare quotes"?

Scare quotes are one of my favorite things about writing (and sometimes even used when speaking). They can lend many different nuanced meanings to various, otherwise mundane words.

I had a good time in the meeting yesterday. <---- ok, that’s cool
I had a good time in the “meeting” yesterday. <---- debaucherous!
I had a “good” time in the meeting yesterday. <----sounds like you didn’t have a good time at all.

Do other languages have an equivalent of “scare quotes?”

I can’t answer your question but I will acknowledge I never knew they had a name before now.

I never knew scare quotes were their official name either, but that’s what some style guides call them and wikipedia has an article on them.

I can’t find any info on them being in other languages though.

When foreign-language films have Japanese subtitles, small dots are often placed above the Japanese characters of the nuanced phrase. I’ve also seen it in local manga comics. For example:

That ball player has a really big “bat”!
            . .   

Thanks JpnDude! So it definitely exists, at least unofficially in Japanese. Do you have any idea what those dots would be called (like in English we call them scare quotes)?

(also, you get extra bonus internet points for your wonderful example of scare quotes. That’s a perfect usage!)

Are the dots supposed to go over よ and !?

In Spain quotemarks are sometimes used to mean (sic), to mean “I’m using this word because it’s the word I’m supposed to use or the word every official document uses although if you ask me it’s not the right one”. Verbally the same words get rolleyed. For example, ya les vale con las “comisiones” - “they really need to stop taking and giving “commissions”” (the correct word would be sobornos, “bribes”).

Note that the quotes-for-sic usage is perfectly valid when quoting someone who used the wrong word, the wrong spelling or an antiquated spelling, you’d only put an actual (literal) or (lit.) if you think people will otherwise not realize the strange thing in your quote comes with the quote. But in this case, if you did it verbally you wouldn’t roll your eyes.

That same exact usage is how scare quotes got started in English, if the wikipedia article is to be believed. People would put quotes around a word they were literally quoting from someone else when they disagreed with their usage of the word and wanted to subtly imply it wasn’t really the right word. I like your example of comisiones. It’s pretty much exactly like that in certain English uses.

Now, more importantly, is there a special word for when quotes are used that way, as in English we have the term scare quotes?

I don’t want to speak for **JpnDude **as I have never used dots above a word to express a euphemism, but I don’t think it would go above ‘yo’ (よ), as ‘yo’ is used as emphasis for the entire phrase.

If it were me, I’d place the dots above the word ‘bat’ instead of ‘have’ but perhaps there was an alignment issue when **JpnDude ** placed the dots.

Scare quotes are used in German much the same way they are used in English and Spanish.

I think in French they call them “guillemets ironiques”.

They’re used in Dutch, often signalled with fingers in the air in speech, but they’re just called “aanhalingstekens”, there is no specific word for the “scare” part. AFAIK. But you would actually say “tussen aanhalingstekens” (lit. “between quotation marks”) to emphasise your disagreement with the use of the word, or the irony or whatever.

This is pretty much identical in Afrikaans.

I think Reply is assuming that Japanese has the same word order as English, i.e., that, because “bat” comes at the end in English, the word meaning “bat” comes at the end in Japanese. (He also may be assuming that in Japanese there is one character per word). It doesn’t come at the end: as is typical in Japanese, the sentence ends with a verb ある and a particle よ. The word meaning “bat” is バット – derived from English (pronounced “batto”), and written with three characters/

This would be “air quotes,” as seen here done by the Chris Farley SNL character Bennett Brower.

Turns out it was just a browser formatting issue. It shows up right on Firefox but not on Chrome, which puts the two dots at the end and over the exclamation mark. That seemed strange to me, so I just wanted to double-check. Glad I asked.

Thanks all for the info. Glad that these quotes get used in other languages. They are just so useful and fun!

Spanish grammarians do sometimes use the term “comillas irónicas” to refer to this usage. And at least in my local usage of Spanish, the equivalent to English verbal usage “cuote-unquote [blank]” or hand-signaled air-quotes, may as in Dutch be signified verbally by saying “entre comillas” before or after the phrase you want to doubt, but not that commonly – more common in verbal communication is to add some other that’s-what-he-calls-it marker to the word being related, as in *Los diz que valores del senador *- The Senator’s so-called Values.

Yup, I’m on Chrome on Windows and can confirm the dots are over the よ!I was rather confused.

(Comillas) Literales for the literal usage; comillas irónicas, comillas de ironía, comillas sarcásticas or *de sarcasmo *when used to indicate irony or sarcasm, as **JRDelirious **said. I doubt most people would remember the names, though: I think they were explained once in about ten years of Spanish Grammar and Lit classes.

The use of entre comillas or entrecomillado, verbally, is found all over from what I can tell. I’ve encountered it from Chile to Andorra.