July 29th, 2007

use and mention in French

Hi. Does anyone know about use/mention conventions in French orthography? I mean a distinction that would index the differences in truth value in the following sentences, as English use of quotes/italics does:

Lincoln is a man. (true)
Lincoln is a noun. (false)
"Lincoln" (or: Lincoln) is a man. (false)
"Lincoln" (or: Lincoln) is a noun. (true)

I've been translating some French philosophy, as a beginner, and my expectation of seeing some visible index of the use/mention distinction in the text has been continually frustrated. To me this is puzzling. If it were simply left to the reader to get the distinction from context, it would be nearly impossible to write about certain kinds of mathematical logic...but perhaps such texts adopt their own conventions? Perhaps my author is just being sloppy?

Thanks in advance for any insight or suggestions.