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Subject: Re: Interrobang, the character
From: Rodger Whitlock <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Fri, 13 Feb 1998 07:56:28 -8

text/plain (34 lines)

"Hrant H. Papazian" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> (Warning: Armenian stuff ahead!)
> In Armenian, exclamation, elongation and question marks can be
> placed on *any vowel*. This makes for some serious context.
> For example, you can ask:
> "What colo?r is the ball." or "What color is the ba?ll.",
> depending on the context.

If you read newsgroups frequented by Gen-Xers, you will find vaguely
similar flexibility in the use of English punctuation in their
postings. By no means exactly the same, and by no means common, but
strongly suggestive of a sea change in English language typography.

It's similar to the use of deliberately demotic spellings: wanna,
innerested, gonna. I think these have a good chance of making it into
the formal language within a few decades.

As I write this message, I start to wonder if the advent of popular
Internet access -- in particular the widespread exchange of
*written* messages a la newsgroups and mailing lists with no
editorial polishing -- will trigger a period of rapid language
evolution, and "modern English" will be superceded by "post-modern
English". (I mean no sarcasm in using "post-modern".)

Rodger Whitlock

I value my garden more for being full of blackbirds than of cherries,
and very frankly give them fruit for their songs.
    -Joseph Addison

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