"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evolution, and "modern English" will be superceded by "post-modern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".)
I value my garden more for being full of blackbirds than of cherries,
and very frankly give them fruit for their songs.