Thursday, September 29, 2005

Punctuate this

I've just put down the book Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss. I'd have to say, it's easily the most enthusiastic and humorous account I've read of the curly-tailed world of punctuation; however...

방금 란 책을 읽어버렸다. 구두법에 대한 책중 쉽게 가장 열광적이고 유머러스한 걸 말할수 있는데...

Punctuation, as she quotes in her introduction, is "a courtesy designed to help readers to understand a story without stumbling".

There's a surprising amount of emotion here too: the expectation of semi-colons; the elaborative, 'surprise-me' colon; the music of the bracket, the question mark and the exclamation mark; the lift-out italics; the dramatic whisper of the dash and the friendly inclusiveness of the double dash; the seemingly ill-starred hyphen; the intriguing trail-off of elipses...

I particularly like this:
"In the family of punctuation, where the full stop is daddy and the comma is mummy, and the semi-colon quietly practises the piano with crossed hands, the exclamation mark is the big attention-deficit brother who gets over-excited and breaks things and laughs too loudly."
The short discussion at the end on the effects the electronic age, Netspeak and emoticons ("a paltry substitute for expressing oneself properly") are having on the language is also worth a look, or a re-read.


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