Dear Ven @Sujato,
I was attempting to read your excellent translation of DN 24 today and found myself getting mighty confused about who was speaking to whom about what.
It’s a bit of a layered, story-in-a-story thing and to make matters worse, one character (not the Buddha) is repeatedly addressed as “Bhaggava” (It didn’t help that I was attempting to read the sutta from the middle where the reference I was interested in is found, not from the beginning, where the scene is established.)
Looking at it again, I realized the biggest part of my confusion is that long, multiparagraph quotes don’t get the starting quote marks which is standard in English:
Each of these paragraphs should have
“ at the beginning, for example.
And the problem gets even worse as we go down:
Here, there is a multi-paragraph quote-within-a-quote! You see the ” at the end of that paragraph but, Oh, no! That’s not the end of the Buddha’s monologue! That’s the end of a third-level quote!
It’s a bit like trying to read code with no indentation. Technically possible if you’re reading from the beginning, but quite a headache even then.
So, here’s my modest proposal: follow English convention and start these paragraphs with all the
“ ‘ things!
It might also help to introduce “Bhaggavagotta” as “Bhaggava Gotta” so it’s not such a surprise when half the name is missing later… or, perhaps even translate the name (Mr. Potterson?) to avoid confusion with “Bhagavā” among the Pāḷi-Dyslexic such as myself.
Anyway, thanks as always for listening to us ungrateful rabble-rousers!