Honorific outdents

Obsolete honorific notations

In Chinese, a line break followed by one to three outdents (of fullwidth space units) can serve as an honorific marker.

This usage comprises three traditional notations, called respectively

  • 單抬 (dāntái / daan1toi4, loosely “single respect”), using an outdent of one fullwidth space;
  • 雙抬 (shuāngtái / seong1toi4, loosely “double respect”), using an outdent of two fullwidth spaces; and
  • 三抬 (sāntái / saam1toi4, loosely “triple respect”), using an outdent of three fullwidth spaces;

Unlike the honorific full-width space and the honorific line break, these notations have already fallen out of use and are considered obsolete.

Current software not equipped to do this

If, however, you need to typeset historical documents that involve these notations, you are probably going to run into some problems. Like the honorific line break, respect is shown by the break in the line and therefore the line before the break must never be justified. However, the word marked for respect is also outdented (which shows additional respect), and these outdents can occur anywhere in a paragraph. It will be a challenge for today’s software to typeset an arbitrary number of outdented lines in the middle of a single paragraph.


These notations have already become obsolete by the time I was born, so I never learnt them in school. The above summary came from the descriptions in http://chcsdl.open2u.com.tw/old_course/f/fc/download/fc05.pdf that Google found.