Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 27th Oct 2009 00:37 UTC
Features, Office In the comments on our editorial about language purism and the Psystar case, it became quite clear that language is a subject almost everyone has an opinion on - not odd if you consider that language is at the very centre of what makes us "human". Since this appears to be a popular subject, let's talk about the influence computing has had on two very minor aspects of the Dutch language.
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RE: Question and exclamation marks
by kaiwai on Tue 27th Oct 2009 12:05 UTC in reply to "Question and exclamation marks"
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Not few people in Spain have cell phones that do not allow for opening question and exclamation marks. ¿What is an opening question mark, you say? ¡Well, I just wrote it for you a sentence ago!

What purpose does it serve? "I AM GOING TO ASK A QUESTION AND THIS MARK IS TO INFORM YOU THAT I AM" and then closing it being little more than "I AM CLOSING THIS QUESTION MARK BECAUSE YOU MIGHT GET CONFUSED" - now imagine a slightly over weight man screaming that at the beginning and end of that sentence to give you what a visualisation of what it appears on the page to the reader. Envisage the tango man doing it - . To me it is an attempt to label the reader an idiot who can't seem to understand when a question is asked either that or I am just mad trying to bring about a metaphysical representation of my reaction when I see such oddities on a page ;)

Maybe I just have a hatred against needless syntax that ad no literary value beyond "it looks nice" but serving no functionary purpose. Boomer addresses why it is there based on historical reasoning but fails to address why it still exists today. Why not purge it out? it doesn't serve any real purpose, its a needless complication for people to learn the language and it simply adds fluff to an otherwise simple sentence.

As a result (added to other causes, such as the ridiculous character limit on SMS or because sometime people are just lazy) many people are omitting them in Spanish far too often. A pity, because they are indeed handy, specially on long or multiline sentences. In fact, how come not every other language uses them?

Why? why not use the wonderful comma? why not a series of questions one after another? if it is necessary, then how come other language can get away not using it? I hear examples but their reason for trying to work around crappy sentence structure rather than addressing why the sentence structure is crappy. Adding to the fact that there is a growing trend of people not reading the full sentence, paragraph or set of writing on its entirety and trying to pull out pieces in isolation rather than seeing the writing that should be viewed holistically. So if anything - maybe the solution is to get people to read and write properly than dropping in symbols to make up for craptastic comprehension and grammar.

Edited 2009-10-27 12:08 UTC

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