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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TasnuArakun
Member since:
2009-05-24

That depends on the language. Some could certainly use opening question marks. In Spanish, if I recall correctly, declarative and interrogative sentences can sometimes only be told apart from their intonation. Others, like my mother tongue Swedish, uses another word order for questions and thus you know pretty much from the start that it is a question even in a written text.

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elmimmo Member since:
2005-09-17

I see what you mean. Japanese too, for example, uses a syllable (か ka) at the end of a question. And yet, the same as in Spanish —sometimes—, like you correctly pointed out, you can then add or not a question mark and still have it understood. In fact, I bet Japanese did not use the question mark before the Meiji Restoration (≈1860). No real idea about that, though.

In Spanish interrogative pronouns have tildes on them, so you can tell their nature also by that (while a redundant feature, not all questions start with an interrogative pronoun anyway, so the opening question mark is still useful). But yet, some of those same cell phones do not allow for some of those tildes either!

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