Sunday, 4 October 2009

Apostrophe anyone?

I thank Mark for bringing this to my attention. It's the old apostrophe in place names story.

This is City Hall gone mad. Martin Mullaney, a councillor who chairs the city's transportation scrutiny committee, pointed out that-

" . . . Birmingham had been quietly phasing out apostrophes since the 1950s. However, he admitted that the new official city-wide policy would distress many residents. Yet he suggested the move was necessary in order to end time-consuming queries from local pedants once and for all.

"We are constantly getting residents asking for apostrophes to be put back in and as a council we have got to make a decision one way or another," Mr Mullaney said.

Wanting something to be correct doesn't necessarily make some one a pedant. Knowing something will distress many residents and doing nothing to stop it does make him an a***.

I don't give a rats a*** what research he has done The possessive apostrophe is correct English grammar. King's Heath is not called King's Heath because it belongs to the King , we don't have a King, but because it once did; that is the point. If he thinks otherwise he is the pedant.

If the people that pay his salary want apostrophes then who is he to say that they cant have them.


grey wolf said...

but most of us dragged up in Birmingham through the comprehensive education system would not know that or particularly care.English as she is spoke or written is in constant flukes, or we would still be speaking Anglo Saxon which very few understand or Celtic even. gazzuks,me thinks yonder boat is a strange one.Can we rely clame that the English formulated at a particular time is the correct English and always will be?or is it a living evolving language.Chaucer in it's original form would be almost unintelligible to us now as would much of Shakespeare.

Maffi said...

What you say is very true, however, there are certain things that we expect and petty city officials are slowly eroding them away.

Arabic punctuation hasn't changed in over 1400 years even though the language has.

If you are going to leave punctuation out then we might as well abreviate all the road signs or just number the roads.

The point is city officials in city hall do city stuff and academics in universitys do apostrophe stuff.

Mark said...

The English language has indeed evolved and continues to evolve, Grey Wolf, but it has done so through economic and social necessity over time; it is rather surreal to suggest that we should be happy for collective ignorance and laziness to be used as the stimulus for changing our language in one fell swoop.
Our language is made simpler by its punctuation, not more difficult. English has remarkably few grammatical rules and they are - in general - easy enough to master. If I can learn most of them, then anyone can. Please don't let casual ignorance be the rationale for allowing our language to be dumbed down by council officials.