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I was surprised when I came across this Wikipedia page: アーシュラ・K・ル=グウィン

Does someone knows what that = sign is? I can see it works as a separator like 「・」 Is it simply an alternative?

36

It's a double hyphen, not an equals sign.

One of its uses is when transliterating names that have a hyphen in them. This is to avoid confusion with the extended sound symbol () in Japanese. For example: クロード・レヴィ=ストロース (Claude Lévi-Strauss)

Another time when the double hyphen is used is when in the original language, there is a stop in the sound. Your example fits this case. アーシュラ・K・ル=グウィン (Ursula Kroeber Le Guin). In English there's a very obvious stop after Le.

Now you might ask why use the double hyphen instead of (the interpunct). After all, is used way more often in nearly all cases as noted here:  中黒(・)を用いるのが一般的だが、厳密な規定は無い。. It seems that it mostly depends on whether the text is vertical or horizontal.

For vertical text, is preferred overwhelmingly. For horizontal texts, can be used instead, although people still generally use . Source: The best answer from here

  • I added a source for that. – Ringil Aug 24 '15 at 0:08
  • Another use of the double hyphen, from Wikipedia- "It may also be used to separate a person's given and family names". – Leslie P. Aug 24 '15 at 15:06

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