Tuesday, 28 December 2021

Rain. Songs. Punctuation.

Today began with rain. I listened to it hammering on the roof and snoozed my alarm instead of getting up for a run. After listening to the rain for a while, I decided to put on my raincoat and boots and walk my running route. I needed to buy bread for breakfast anyway. 

By late morning the day seemed to have improved. The rain had stopped and there was some blue in the sky. So we went out to try to catch some vitamin D, whereupon the clouds moved back in. So it goes. 

As I type, Phil is playing various versions of the Italian partisan song “Bella Ciao” that he has found on youtube. Here’s a link to one of them from a demonstration against I know not what in Palermo, Sicily. The song popped up in a Radio 3 programme where an Italian-English cookery expert selected it as her first choice of favourite music. It has also featured in the Spanish TV series, La Casa de Papel, which we watched on Netflix - a series well worth watching, by the way. Now I expect to be humming it all day long - my latest earworm!

Well, I have used a couple of dashes and an exclamation mark in that last paragraph. I came across an article about punctuation, written by an Oxford professor of English if I remember correctly. Apparently our use of punctuation is changing, largely due to text messaging and email replacing (proper) letter writing. 

The use of a full stop in a text message can be considered offensive:

“Text messages now often sent as individual sentences mean the full stop has become surplus to requirement; including one is seen to signal a deliberate desire to be blunt or convey hostility, similar to adding the word “period” in speech: “That’s enough – period.””

And using capitals is the equivalent of shouting: 

“In 2013, the US navy dropped its policy of requiring all communications to be written in capitals because its sailors objected to being constantly shouted at.” 

And the poor old apostrophe still suffers and might disappear altogether: 

“Calls to drop the apostrophe go back to George Bernard Shaw, who refused to pepper his pages with these “uncouth bacilli”. Lewis Carroll took the opposite view, insisting that the proper spellings of “can’t” and “shan’t” should be “ca’n’t” and “sha’n’t”.”

We tend to use a dash instead of a semicolon, as nobody seems to know how to use a semicolon properly. 

From the article I came across a new word:  “bangorrhea”. It’s the medical term (medical?) for excessive use of exclamation marks! Oops, there I go again! At least now I can use the excuse that I suffer from  “bangorrhea””

In a completely unrelated article by one Philip Lavelle, writing about how he survived the care system and prison to become a writer, punctuation came up again: 

“One teacher – let’s call him Mr X – remarked that my grasp of grammar was “limp-wristed in the extreme”. (Mr X, if you are reading this, I started this sentence with a bracket, just for you – and now I am not going to close it.”

Personally I always try to punctuate my text messages. My 24 year old granddaughter NEVER punctuates hers. Different generations!

Life goes on. Stay safe and well, everyone!

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