Thursday, May 14, 2009

You Can't Pronounce That!

One of my favorite themes is the idea of pronouncing spellings, or pronouncing punctuation marks.

Over at one of my favorite blogger's discussions of finding an antonym for "environmentalist,"I spotted this:
(You Don't Say, by John E. McIntyre)

[Author  Jeff McMahon] comments: “A colleague of mine in the education/slash/journalism field, Monica Westin, suggested “depletist” or “depletionist,” . . .
It feels odd to use slashes to set off the word "slash"--why not just use the slash, and not the word? My first thought was, Because it's a quote, and people can't pronounce "/." (or "/"?)  

Then I remembered: Mr. McMahon was writing on his Scorched Earth blog, and Mr. McIntyre was careful to preserve his original keystrokes--Mr. McI is a journalist, after all.

But if Mr. McIntyre had been free to insert his own punctuation (as you are with a true quotation), what then? I wouldn't use a slash as punctuation in a quote often anyway, and certainly not in this sort of construction. My vote would be: "education-slash-journalism field."


I'm sort of wondering why Mr. McMahon didn't simply type "education/journalism," and save the keystrokes. It's funny to think of him as not recognizing the slash itself ("/") as a thing he could simply use. Was he thinking verbally? Writing as though he was speaking?



26 comments:

Stan said...

There's also the sound effects option.

TootsNYC said...

Oooh, thanks for the link, Stan!

Of course, it's hard to type a sound . . . I suppose, w/ the Internet, you could simply link to an audio clip of Mr. Borge . . .

Stan said...

You're welcome, Toots! Typing with sound effects is a nice idea, but not very practicable.

Now that I think about it, I seem to remember a comic strip called "Sound Effects Stan", but that's by the by.

TootsNYC said...

I don't think it would be as hard as you think; in the XyWrite days, one could program a keyboard for alternate characters, including a series of steps that would run a mini script (like, all the keystrokes for opening a file).

It wouldn't be that hard for a geek to add a "scritch" sound every time you typed a quote mark.

TootsNYC said...

I don't think it would be as hard as you think; in the XyWrite days, one could program a keyboard for alternate characters, including a series of steps that would run a mini script (like, all the keystrokes for opening a file).

It wouldn't be that hard for a geek to add a "scritch" sound every time you typed a quote mark.

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