Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Return, And A Departure

* Blows dust off blog, again *

I'm back! And where have I been for the last month? Well, toiling in the University Bookstore through the September textbook rush, for the most part. The scene below is a reasonable facsimile of the sort of job it was:



Trust me, there will be anecotes, oh my yes!

However, it is not the goings-on at the University Bookstore that concerns us today, but rather a somewhat odd news story that cropped up last week. Here it is:

Thousands of hyphens perish as English marches on
Fri Sep 21, 2007 4:54pm EDT By Simon Rabinovitch

LONDON (Reuters) - About 16,000 words have succumbed to pressures of the Internet age and lost their hyphens in a new edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary.

Bumble-bee is now bumblebee, ice-cream is ice cream and pot-belly is pot belly.


And so, farewell, noble hyphen! Well, not entirely "farewell," as the article goes on to point out that hyphens will be hanging around in situations where confusion would result otherwise (the word "twenty-odd" is cited as an example). Furðermore, one must recall ðat ðere are æt least a handful of letters which have been þrown out of þe English language, so perhaps þe partial removal of a piece of punctuation is not such a big deal (For the record, the three obsolete letters used in that sentence are, in order, eth, ash, and thorn. We've also lost yogh and wynn). Still and all, I think I'm going to miss the ice-cream.

2 comments:

Chorus said...

Interesting! I'm not sure I've ever spelled ice cream with a hyphen...

But that being said, it's still kinda sad! Poor little hyphen.

Chunklets said...

I confess that I too have often been a bit unclear about when, precisely, to trot out the hyphen. I suspect that I've been overusing it to a certain degree.