Sunday, August 23, 2009

THE ORDER OF THE APOSTROPHIC FLOURISH

I do wish I had seen the vicar, (church minister) running around with his paint buckets and brushes, in the town, in the United Kingdom, in which he ministers to his flock.

The ubiquitous possessive apostrophe which is totally misused, or not used when it should be, irritated the man of the church so much, he took matters into his own hands to correct what he saw as an unholy omission that needed divine intervention, particularly in its reference to saints.

In a Kentish suburb, there were streets and centres named St Johns'; St Johns but, there were no St John's. This error of punctuation he adjudged for absolute correction. The intrepid vicar undertook the total task of awarding all the St John's he could find, the correct possessive order of the meritorious apostrophic flourish.

6 comments:

adamantixx said...

good for him but perhaps he can now seek real divine intervention in the stamping-out of text talk...or should i say, txt tlk!

MKL said...

This reminds me of an episode of Seinfeld. If you don't know the show, let me tell you what happened.

Elaine dated a new guy. When she came back home, she found a note, where the new guy wrote: Your friend is pregnant. And he did not write an '!' at the end but a dot. She broke up with him because of that.

Ok, it's just an exaggeration, but it's apparently not so far fetched from reality.

Religious people are always so hyper-sensitive, but when there's a scandal in the Church, they need a lot of time and a lot of pressure to at least say sorry.

Vincent said...

I believe the impetus for this kind of thing is to preserve as far as possible the best of the Golden Age - that is, the environment of our youth. We see misuse of language as a trampling on our memories. I do, anyway. It must be so much worse in those countries which for political reasons ban the use of certain native languages - as Welsh was once banned in schools in Wales, for example.

ZACL said...

What a splendid clutch of ideas in all your comments.

Ax - re: txt tlk or spk ? Divine place for everything I say and not on blogs! I have to confess I do like, l8, 2gether and 4ward, for example.

Your thoughts seem to link in with Vincent's, (note the possessive apostrophe please) about retaining some of our core structures in which to guide people through the vagaries of our social mores and expectations.

In the last war, the Germans insisted on the teaching of hoch Deutch, Austrian dialect was banned. Absorption was the name of the game. The Austrians still have their regional differences in language, even if it a German- based one.

The Welsh were hardy souls, the North Waleians retaining what they saw as their cultural heritage, to the point now, where there is a total reversal of requirement. Welsh is taught as the first language.

The obverse of this is the imposition of Scottish Gaelic on every part of Scotland, even where there is no history of it ever being spoken. Areas like the central belt, spoke a different language, The Aberdonians have their own communication as well, which they are determined to hang on to.

These impositions are objectionable, whichever platform they are driving out from. Sadly, history is littered with such examples of cultural suppression.

I find your punctuation example MKL, (from a soap I guess?) where the omission of an exclamation mark created a schism. This is bizarre but possibly allegorical of other matters of which I have no knowledge.

Question: Why would a girlfriend react in such a way to a low key bit of gossip; why would she need such written emphasis? The scene you describe MKL, raises more questions than it answers. However, it did make me smile.

MKL said...

ZACL, if you want to understand that scene, you need to watch Seinfeld and fall in love with the characters. It's a US Sitcom, that ran from 1990-1998, it's a show about nothing, 4 nihilistic friends in New York always getting stuck in surreal situations. If you happen to have the chance, watch it. I have the whole collections and watch reruns every day before sleep. It's so funny. You can check Seinfeld's funny quotes, he plays a stand-up comedian in the show, plus he is one in real, too :)

ZACL said...

In those years and before, Vincent, we had a member of the household who variously hogged the TV with Star Trek and similar series, then endless repeats of Friends, followed on by Sex In the City. I think I got stuffed!

Thanks for the pointers.