Tuesday, April 8, 2008

What the Heck Happened to the Semi-colon?

If your orientation is, for the most part, of a linguistic nature, you might have asked yourself the same question I, and the French, have been asking ourselves:
Just what the heck happened to the semi-colon?

'In the red corner, desiring nothing less than the consignment of the semicolon to the dustbin of grammatical history, are a pair of treacherous French writers and (of course) those perfidious Anglo-Saxons, for whose short, punchy, uncomplicated sentences, it is widely rumoured, the rare subtlety and infinite elegance of a good semicolon are surplus to requirements. The point-virgule, says legendary writer, cartoonist and satirist François Cavanna, is merely "a parasite, a timid, fainthearted, insipid thing, denoting merely uncertainty, a lack of audacity, a fuzziness of thought".'

A definite must-read. Full text here.


Anonymous said...

This has got to me MY sentence of the day, I, and the French....
Bri, Bri, Bri.
Of course, you'd care about the semi-colon. As do I. Now.

Anonymous said...

Ha. G. Stein's quote killed me. The highlight of the article!