Apostrophe Society Shuts Down...

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Ed Lijewski
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Apostrophe Society Shuts Down...

Post by Ed Lijewski » Sun Dec 01, 2019 8:53 am

Descartes: "Cogito Ergo Sum"
Lijewski: "Sum Ergo Drive-O. Mucho!

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andyofcolumbusmerkur
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Re: Apostrophe Society Shuts Down...

Post by andyofcolumbusmerkur » Sun Dec 01, 2019 9:39 am

:(
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Re: Apostrophe Society Shuts Down...

Post by my8950 » Sun Dec 01, 2019 12:45 pm

It took this article for you to realize that lazy asses have it made? They get money, weed, whatever else with minimal consequences. Seems like it has been this way for quite some time.

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Re: Apostrophe Society Shuts Down...

Post by John Brennan » Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:11 am

"Idiocracy" is here.

What people fail to understand is that language is the basis of any functioning society, and although it's true that English is rife with irregularities and such which make its complete mastery difficult, functional levels are not difficult to achieve, and without effective communication, society has little choice but to further degrade. All of the Dutch Boys with their fingers in the holes in the dike of literacy (AKA "Grammar Nazis") receive mostly derision and scorn for their efforts, as society seems to prefer "wearing margarine trousers on the slippery slope to Oblivion," as Jeremy Clarkson once so aptly put it.
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Re: Apostrophe Society Shuts Down...

Post by Ed Lijewski » Mon Dec 02, 2019 11:05 am

Were he still breathing Gresham likely would postulate his Second Law: Bad grammar drives out good grammar.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gresham's_law

YMMV
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Re: Apostrophe Society Shuts Down...

Post by John Brennan » Mon Dec 02, 2019 11:20 am

Ed Lijewski wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 11:05 am
Were he still breathing Gresham likely would postulate his Second Law: Bad grammar drives out good grammar.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gresham's_law

YMMV
An excellent analogy. :headbang
As Gresham has indeed shucked his mortal coil, why not claim it?
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Re: Apostrophe Society Shuts Down...

Post by Ed Lijewski » Mon Dec 02, 2019 11:56 am

I enjoy the alliteration (Lijewski's Law)...

YMMV
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Re: Apostrophe Society Shuts Down...

Post by thesameguy » Tue Dec 10, 2019 6:20 pm

I'd think ascribing the failure of the Apostrophe Society to laziness and ignorance is short sighted. The hallmark of a durable language is its ability to evolve. Latin is obviously the 800lb gorilla here - strict structure and syntax made it difficult to use and impossible to evolve. I'm no linguist, but you see similar things unfolding with both Romance and Asian languages today - even they are too rigid to fully encapsulate modern society, either in form or in function.

English c2019 is nothing like English c1719, but we continue to express complex thoughts and concepts efficiently and precisely because English isn't rigid. We lose some, we gain some, and acceptable use varies from generation to generation. When I was a kid my dad used to harass me for using all sorts of slang that, today, is not only completely common but also an incredibly efficient concept. "Cool" is undefinable, but at the same time everyone knows exactly what it means, and when it's being used in earnest or sarcastically. That's the magic of English. A lot packed into a small space.

I like language, especially the written kind, but if we don't need something (like, say, an apostrophe) to communicate meaning, then it's wasteful and it should be gotten rid of. Speaking of, and a keen example, I understand the difference between its and it's but if I can say "Its raining outside" and you know what I mean, then who cares that I left out an apostrophe? The meaning was communicated, the purpose of written language is realized. Of course, I'm old now and an enthusiast and it would be truly difficult for me to misuse an apostrophe, but I'm not gonna wag my finger when someone uses it incorrectly. I can recognize the value of evolution without participating in it. :)

As an exercise, I recommend reading Ridley Walker. It can be painful at times but if you like the written word it's incredibly fulfilling when you're done... and it demonstrates well how far you can push English and how far we are from that point.

https://www.amazon.com/Riddley-Walker-E ... 309&sr=8-1

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Re: Apostrophe Society Shuts Down...

Post by John Brennan » Wed Dec 11, 2019 10:34 am

thesameguy wrote:
Tue Dec 10, 2019 6:20 pm
I like language, especially the written kind, but if we don't need something (like, say, an apostrophe) to communicate meaning, then it's wasteful and it should be gotten rid of.
Here's the crux of the issue-- you're talking about a knowledgeable and intentional modification of language, which I would fully support. But I'm not seeing much of that. What I'm seeing is laziness and ignorance.
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Re: Apostrophe Society Shuts Down...

Post by thesameguy » Wed Dec 11, 2019 12:34 pm

I don't think that's what I'm talking about. I'm talking about an organic process of something changing and then the larger body agreeing the new form is better. Not every step a society takes is engineered - probably most are not. Especially when it comes to language, there is no sanctioning body to approve or deny adjustments. When I was a kid, Oxford commas were de facto and non-plural possessives ending in S ended in apostrophe, but that's largely out the window today. No ref stood up and made that call. It happened because "we" decided we didn't need it.

If something is needed to convey meaning it should be retained. If something exists to take up space and adds no additional value, why bother? The argument "that's how it's always been" seems like an argument for walking and libraries. I'll take a car and the internet every single day.

Back in the '80s I anticipated that the internet would bring along with it a fun* side effect of engaging people in the written word. I wasn't wrong, but I wasn't right in the way I expected to be. The internet has accelerated evolution rather than decelerating it. In retrospect, of course it did - now there are millions or billions of eyes on the problem of "how do we communicate more efficiently" … the loss of an unneeded device seems exactly in line with a possible solution.


* On the subject of useless grammar rules, I was taught never to use "fun" as an adjective as the word is actually a noun. Who knows that? Who cares?

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Re: Apostrophe Society Shuts Down...

Post by John Brennan » Thu Dec 12, 2019 2:38 pm

I agree with most of what you're saying-- nevertheless, I still see ignorance and apathy as the main drivers of these changes. I would love to see more consciously-driven change.
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Re: Apostrophe Society Shuts Down...

Post by thesameguy » Thu Dec 12, 2019 2:46 pm

I can't argue the point, but I would suggest that when someone decides to referee the game then everyone generates an opinion about the call and arguments ensue.

I'll keep using punctuation correctly and maybe we can steer the ship back in the other direction. A quiet resistance. If there's no Society, there's nothing to fight. :)

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Re: Apostrophe Society Shuts Down...

Post by Ed Lijewski » Thu Dec 12, 2019 7:50 pm

John Brennan wrote:
Thu Dec 12, 2019 2:38 pm
I agree with most of what you're saying-- nevertheless, I still see ignorance and apathy as the main drivers of these changes. I would love to see more consciously-driven change.
Laziness belongs between ignorance and apathy.

"Textguage" (u for you, ur for your...) is a major factor in the current consciously driven changes of written communication.

YMMV
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Re: Apostrophe Society Shuts Down...

Post by thesameguy » Thu Dec 12, 2019 8:20 pm

I think it's critical to not conflate laziness and efficiency. Failure to do so results in all technology being tagged as laziness; after all, we could knit our own clothes and walk ourselves to work in the morning. You vs u just might be foot vs car. If "u" gets the job done and saves you two keystrokes, what is the reason not to do it? Preservation of some old necessity or ideal? The point of grammar and syntax is to prevent ambiguity - if you can break the rules and not create ambiguity, what is lost? Maybe, if you're certain British authors, quite a bit is gained. Nobody seems to mind that.

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Re: Apostrophe Society Shuts Down...

Post by John Brennan » Fri Dec 13, 2019 8:35 am

thesameguy wrote:
Thu Dec 12, 2019 8:20 pm
I think it's critical to not conflate laziness and efficiency. Failure to do so results in all technology being tagged as laziness; after all, we could knit our own clothes and walk ourselves to work in the morning. You vs u just might be foot vs car. If "u" gets the job done and saves you two keystrokes, what is the reason not to do it? Preservation of some old necessity or ideal? The point of grammar and syntax is to prevent ambiguity - if you can break the rules and not create ambiguity, what is lost? Maybe, if you're certain British authors, quite a bit is gained. Nobody seems to mind that.
You're comparing physical effort to knowledge-- not the same thing. I don't mind the contractions so much (remember telegrams?) as I mind the ignorance of how the language is structured, and what that structure communicates. As you asked, "The point of grammar and syntax is to prevent ambiguity - if you can break the rules and not create ambiguity, what is lost?" I would say quite a bit is lost when the ignorance of those things changes the meaning of what is communicated, and I see that a lot.
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