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Punctuation

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DVD Smith
1268293.  Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:43 pm Reply with quote

QI has mentioned the interrobang before, but did you know there was a submitted proposal in 2012 to add six new sentence-ending punctuation marks to the general lexicon? [1][2]

They were first introduced by French author Hervé Bazin in 1966, and were modified Exclamation Points designed to indicate emotions/contexts that were otherwise very difficult to convey through punctuation alone. The six new punctuation points are:

1. Love Point - formed by two facing question marks over a single dot
2. Certitude Point - a ! with a horizontal line through it
3. Authority Point - a ! with a flatcap
4. Irony Point - like the greek letter psi (ψ) over a single dot
5. Acclamation Point - two exclamation marks converging on a single dot
6. Doubt Point - a ! but with a zig-zag instead of a straight line

You can see the symbols at reference 1 above, which is a 2012 proposal to add them to the Universal Coded Character Set.

The proposal suggests that they could be used "like emoticons but preserving a more sophisticated appearance", something which I certainly would find useful (particularly in work emails), and "to refer to them in texts discussing punctuation", something I would find...rather less useful.

I can't find if the proposal was accepted or not, but given that the Wikipedia page (reference 2 above) displays the symbols using image files instead of Unicode characters, I would guess...probably not.

Anyway, the main reason I wanted to post a thread on this subject was so I could post my favourite ever QI fact, which is that the Finnish phrase for "grammar Nazi" literally translates as "comma fucker".


Last edited by DVD Smith on Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:47 pm; edited 3 times in total

 
DVD Smith
1268294.  Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:44 pm Reply with quote

The ampersand (&) was originally considered a letter of the alphabet, and it didn't have a name. It came after Z, and when reciting the alphabet people would say "X, Y, Z, and, per se, And". The "and per se And" eventually got slurred together and became "ampersand", which then became the name of the symbol.

In film writing credits, the use of an ampersand rather than the word "and" is very important; it is used to indicate that two writers collaborated on a script. If the word "and" is used, the two writers worked separately on the script, possibly without any communication at all. (Source)

 
'yorz
1268310.  Sun Dec 24, 2017 3:42 am Reply with quote

DVD Smith wrote:
3. Authority Point - a ! with a flatcap


Youlgreave alert: I wondered for a very brief while why one would have need to convey the sentiment of a catflap.
I've just woken up (that's my excuse).

QI post indeed, DVD Smith. Welcome! :-)

 
ellylles
1272380.  Mon Jan 29, 2018 5:40 am Reply with quote

I wonder how the marvellous Victor Borge would have interpreted those in his brilliant 'Phonetic Punctuation' routines.

 
'yorz
1272382.  Mon Jan 29, 2018 5:47 am Reply with quote

Minor quibble: a ! (meaning an exclamation mark) shirley should be an !?
It took me a minute or so to understand that the point was not the letter a being emphasised.

 
Alexander Howard
1272402.  Mon Jan 29, 2018 9:03 am Reply with quote

We should have punctuation marks to indicate all the senses in which we might mean to express a sentence: a question mark and an exclamation mark are too limited. We don't need marks for irony and sarcasm, but we are lacking marks for plain speech.

English grammar recognises only five moods: infinitive, indicative, subjunctive, imperative and interrogative. However our language in use is far more nuanced. Degaspregos was an artificial language devised by Thomas Wier based on Proto-Indo-European, and he determined that it should have thirteen moods (or "modes") which have thankfully been preserved on the net here.

Now that I have seen the imperative divided into 'Imperative', 'Exhortative', 'Jussive', 'Advissive' and 'Necessitative', I do not know how we do without them: we need punctuation marks for these! Then there is 'Experiential' ("action from another's point of view") and again, how do we get by without it?

 
crissdee
1272421.  Mon Jan 29, 2018 11:11 am Reply with quote

All these indicators of mood have only become really important due to the modern prevalence of conversation by electronic text, rather than face to face. Even when writing letters was the norm, people in general had a far better command and understanding of the language, making overt explanation of meaning/intent unneccessary. Today, when you have so many functional illiterates communicating with other functional illiterates by means of a screen, explanations become necessary.

 
suze
1272429.  Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:00 pm Reply with quote

Alexander Howard wrote:
English grammar recognises only five moods: infinitive, indicative, subjunctive, imperative and interrogative. However our language in use is far more nuanced.

[snip]

Now that I have seen the imperative divided into 'Imperative', 'Exhortative', 'Jussive', 'Advissive' and 'Necessitative', I do not know how we do without them: we need punctuation marks for these! Then there is 'Experiential' ("action from another's point of view") and again, how do we get by without it?


The argument that our languages needs these further moods might be stronger if we actually used the ones we have. But in practice, the subjunctive is rare and becoming rarer in English as spoken in Britain, although it's used rather more in North America.

The example I often use here is to note that the singer Beyoncé - who is American, but did not graduate high school and so should not be seen as some geeky grammar pedant - has a song called If I were a boy. But if I were to ask the members of my registration group - some of whom will proceed to Oxford and Cambridge - how I should handle some situation, most of them would say "If I was you ...".

These intelligent and well educated young people don't feel the need of the subjunctive which is already available to them, so why would they ever use the nine proposed extra moods?

 
tetsabb
1272440.  Mon Jan 29, 2018 1:58 pm Reply with quote

Being British, they only need one mood, that of plucky but futile optimism, surely?
😉

 
Bondee
1272449.  Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:46 pm Reply with quote

DVD Smith wrote:
1. Love Point - formed by two facing question marks over a single dot


Irish band Therapy? put this to good use as part of the imagery for their album Infernal Love, but they called it a question heart.

 
crissdee
1272450.  Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:48 pm Reply with quote

Yeah, that futile optimism that let us see off Napoleon, then build the greatest, wealthiest and most powerful empire the world had ever seen, then see off the Kaiser, then Hitler..................

 
'yorz
1272457.  Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:55 pm Reply with quote

... then Trump, shirley?

 
crissdee
1272458.  Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:56 pm Reply with quote

We can but hope.....

 

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