And some people take maths a little too seriously as well.
Wakefield Council has done a Brum and dropped possessive apostrophes from street names, prompting a further wave of linguistic indignation from the good burghers of Middle England. According to the Telegraph, the move is intended to "avoid confusion". The council's director for planning and property, Ian Thompson, defended: " …
Im the first person to agree that my spelling, grammar and punctuation isn't the best, but I'm also not the person in charge of making things make sense!
I was at the hospital last week and whilst navigating the car park was greeted with the following sign... "No Parking Hospital Staff Only"
Does the sign indicate that area was parking for hospital staff only, or was the sign there to inform the hospial staff to not park there?
my mind boggled for a while until i noticed that the electricity box was locked with 8 different padlocks and with the rain pouring down like it was, that I would pity the fool that had to gain access to said box!
anyway... the general rambling point that I am struggling to make, is that punctuation and correct grammar should be enforced by our leaders when trying to convey a message to us minions...
It's not fucking confusing, it's the English language.
Maybe if people stopped breeding like rabbits and there weren't so many scrotes hanging around, not bothering going to school, we might have a country that isn't on its arse.
I wernt nvr taut english proper in school me.
Honestly, the government says about failing this and failing that, it's their fault.
But now with an extra complaint about text speak. Am I the only one whose phones have had T9, which actually knows how to spell? It takes longer (although admittedly fewer characters) to type an abbreviated word under T9 than the full version. Acronyms for expressions are another matter, but "ROTFLMAAOBPO" predates text messaging - although I can't speak for "LOL"; nobody things "CUL8R" is correct. If you want to blame anyone for bad spelling, blame marketeers ten years ago who thought that a plethora of "X", "K" and "Z" in names looked kewl^H^H^H^Hcool. (WAREZ, D00DZ!)
Skipping apostrophes is confusing - it hides meaning from place names that are otherwise ambiguous. Software should only need names to be distinct, not meaningful, so stripping punctuation at comparison time should be harmless; that's not the same as mangling the official names of places.
That said, I work in "Meadlake Place", which is opposite "Medlake Road", so maybe I should pick my battles.
Council Functionary: "Apostrophes are not generally used in street names as they can lead to problems and confusion when data is transferred electronically for other uses."
Our robot overlords will be able to find and round us up all the more easily with the apostropes removed.
So instead of painting 'V' everywhere, just add punctuation to defeat the machines.
I for one don't welcome...
This piece of punctuation seems to have gone the way of the Dodo. I suspect that most of its uses are wrong, mainly erroneous plural"""s. English is a living language at least as far as it keeps the publishers of dictionaries in work. Let us phase out these anachronisms as they are no longer useful.
From an IT point of view these things are a confounded nuisance in key name and address fields which we depend on for providing services including emergency assistance to people.
Wakefield and Brum make sense, keep up the good work.
I'm annoyed inside, but I'm just losing the will to even bother arguing against this sort of nonsense!
As a software engineer, I get extremely frustrated by spelling mistakes and bad grammar in code comments, let alone actual written documents. If somebody can't be bothered to pay a bit of care and attention to use correct English, then what confidence can I have that they've paid any care and attention to the work itself.
i would have thought councils, of all people, would appreciate the disabiguation of the written word provided by the humble apostrophe.
While we're at it why don't we drop all of the Homophones too as they're obviously completely useless. Next, get rid of all those pesky commas. People generally don't know how to use those either so they might be too confusing!
you should also drop all grammatical rules too, as they are clearly too complicated for 99% of the population nowadays, which would make most other forms of punctuation redundant too.
I suppose spelling is quite complicated, so away with that, as long as people 'get the gist' of which word you meant I'm sure it will be fine.
What about all of those funny squiggly symbols people write, they are a bit complicated too. I mean we don't need 26 of them, do we. v, w, and u all look confusingly similar so replace with just v, the curvy bit of a u might prove too difficult. i & j could be mistaken so consolidate those too. In fact vowels are a bit useless altogether really so get rid of those completely. I'm sure we could cull a few more useless letters too.
And after all this, we'll have a completely illeterate population.
Is obviously for councils and other official bodies that can't hack proper English to restrict themselves to Basic English.
That would have the important additional benefit of eliminating most of today's pompous, meaningless verbiage. The words would simply not be available in the authorised vocabulary. Just imagine how much better a world this would be if officials could only make simple, verifiable statements of fact.
Apostrophes do cause some problems when used on web pages, in databases and in SMTP addresses.
However, the general attitude that they just don't matter is a bad one.
As for this comment:
"Text messaging, email and internet chat rooms are showing us the way forward for English. Let's allow people greater freedom to spell logically. It's time to remove the fetish that says that correct spelling is a principal (principle?) mark of being educated."
While I have to admit to having problems with "accommodation" and other words with doubled-up letters, and don't have a problem with Americanisms such as center and color, I do have a problem when "know" is spelled "no" and "of", "off" and "have" are used interchangeably -- because it's fucking hard to read!
Language should, surely, be used according to the situation? If you're on a sinking ship, then "SOS" is probably sufficient, if you're setting a time to meet a friend then "C U @ 8" will probably do -- but if you're writing and advert on eBay or posting on a web forum, or (at the extremes) writing a scientific paper or a novel you should use a fucking spell checker and, if you need it, a dictionary.
Im gettin increasingly pist of with tryng too reed fing written by pepl who cant speel there worms or use the rong worms entirely.
After all, the possibilities with the (hypothetical) James Road are several
1, James' Road - road belonging to James or Mr James
2. Jame's Road - road belonging to Mr Jame
3. James Road - road going to James (a place)
could solve some issues with streetworks maintenance database.
I would put commentators down as 50% foaming at the mouth 50% misquoted
Thats two councils that have noticed how they really screw up your digital data manipulation.
I wonder if either of these councils have also noticed certain words used in conjunction with apostrophes playing havoc with their systems and allowing unauthorised people to do naughty things.
We need to ban % $ % and !
Also the words do, for, each, if, while, let, get, set, select, from and or - to name but a few
im was brought up in the wakefield met area and if they spent more fucking time and money sorting out the rundown outlying areas ex-mining towns and other unloved areas it would be much improved, not that i dont love the area being a patriotric yorkshire man but this nonsense gets my back up!
rant over mines the one with the british coal logo on the back and the whippet lead in the pocket
What a splendid plan by John Wells. If it wasn't for the ability to "free up" a language in this manner I couldn't call him a "fuckwit" - a word which, (in the style of Murray Walker) unless I'm very much mistaken, does not appear in the Oxford English dictionary.
John, you're a fuckwit.
And ... breathe.
It's shocking how bad spelling and grammar has become over the past few years. Here's a few samples of some of the things I see from clever people I know in IT that should know better, it makes my eyes hurt:
The use of 'rediculous' instead of 'ridiculous'.
The use of 'then' instead of 'than'
Seeing 'doesent' makes me weep.
Basic stuff like the mixed up use of 'there/their/they're', I mean how hard is it to get that right?
Other primary school basics like 'i' before 'e' except after 'c' apparently forgotten/never learned.
'wich' instead of 'which' is another howler I often see in business communications.
Don't get me wrong, I failed my 'O' level English and scraped it in 5th year (preferring to study assembly language instead of the English one at exam time) so I'm no genius when it comes to creative prose/comprehension/essays, but I bloodywell knew my grammar and spelling upon leaving primary school.
I don't know whether it's lazyness or our country is just generally getting thicker.
But.. proper names (such as places) do not necessarily follow normal punctuation rules. These names adapt and evolve independently of normal grammar. So, we have "Cambridge" and not "Cam Bridge", "Wakefield" and not "Wake Field", "Birmingham" and not "Breme inga ham".
I think the argument in Brum was about places like King's Heath.. or Kings Heath. Being an ex-Brummy, I don't think that I would use the apostrophe. In a hundred years time, it might be called Kingsheath.. except that sounds like a condom.
I'll get my coat.
...blindingly brilliant example of sheer fscknuggetry from the powers that be. How the bloody hell do they expect people to know how to use something like a possessive apostrophe properly if they decide it is easier just to get rid of it? I'm sufficiently proud of the English language and the correct use of it that the prospect of arbitrarily changing it so as not to confuse the chav mouth breathers fills me with true loathing for the irresponsible individual or individuals that made the suggestion.
What next? Change the value of pi to 3, no more fanny arsing about with these fiddly bits after the decimal point?
DO THESE FUCKWITS HAVE NOTHING BETTER TO WORRY ABOUT?
GLOBAL WARMING (although I have to say I'm not overly worried about that myself)
8 YEAR OLD CHAVS FATHERING BABIES TO 15 YEAR OLD GIRLS
SATELLITES CRASHING IN SIBERIA (or wherever)
JACQUIE SMITH BEING ALLOWED "ANY SENIOR POST"
FUCK ME!!!! SOMEBODY FIND ME A SUPPORT GROUP QUICKLY THAT I CAN JOIN. JUST AS LONG AS IT IS NOT THE FUCKING "Apostrophe Protection Society."
He's not enough of a pedant to be in charge of the APS!
"Next in line was John Richards of the Apostrophe Protection Society, who said: "The council should aim its efforts to ensuring that apostrophes are used correctly, not deciding to erase them altogether. It is choosing the easy way out, dumbing down and showing contempt for the large number of area's residents who take a pride in the English language.""
Immediately, I wish to correct him.
"It is choosing the easy way out, dumbing down and showing contempt for the large number of **THE** area's residents who take a pride in the English language."
Sheesh. Though, of course, I'm sure that I've made an equally obvious error here!
Anyway. Stupid idea. Apostrophes are there for a reason. If you're going to remove the apostrophe, then remove the contraction it represents. Therefore:
"St Noddy's Road" should be renamed "Saint Noddy His Road"
The problem has been pointed out since about 1800, before that alternative spellings were tolerated provided the content was worthwhile. But hot air and hotter tempers did not produce a result, only agreement that an language academy or esperanto were not viable solutions.
Now that english is spoken by more aliens than aboriginals, they are naturally taking control, and ironing out the obvious lumps. Let it happen, english will be the better for it next century. If you still want to improve the standards, write a decent book.
If you think apostrophes are bad, feel sorry for the Germans, who have to bundle together streets named after people with hyphens, as in Alexander-von-Humboldt-Straße.
Looking at the new German finance minister's name, that's 15 hyphens, and a very long street sign (see yesterday's article about wikifiddlers)
I think the general attitude to our language is sympomatic of people's lack of pride in what they do.
If I look back at something that I've typed and I see a glaring typo or a badly spelled word, I reel in horror and shame. It's the same with everything I do, a principle that was hammered into me from an early age.
Most people these days don't care about their driving skills, their manners, their humility or the poor guy rolling around on the street (in agony after being mugged for their iPhone) that they just walk past.
What chance has our language?
So what I'm to gather from all this is you're city/town/etc officials are exactly like the ones here on the other side of the pond. In other words generally inept tin Cesar's who waste entirely to much time on non issues while totally ignoring the important bits. Ok then, nice to see politicians are the same around the world.
There might be a large number of area residents who can use apostrophes correctly, and it may also be true that a large number of the area's residents can use apostrophes correctly, but using "area's" without the "the" does not appear to me to be an example of correct English grammar.
I think you are quite right, nowadays it's that old expression "never mind the quality feel the width".
You also reminded me of something else
>in agony after being mugged for their iPhone
I recently read that after a car accident most passerbys stopped to take pictures and videos of the scene using their mobile phones without going to the aid of the injured and that within 15 minutes a video had been posted on youtube.
If signs are printed/painted, and eyeballs are being used to read them.... in what way is that digitally transferring anything? And in what way does it matter?
Apparently we have managed it so far.
So... once it's painted, how / why does a street sign get transferred? And to where ??!
Anglo-Saxon, which was a fully-fledged Germanic language, had a possessive case. That's where we get our -s from. It works, and it didn't use apostrophes (which in any case didn't exist). 'King' was 'cyning' and 'king's' was 'cyninges'.
We have no way of pronouncing an apostrophe, but we still understand each other.
Strictly speaking, the written language ought to work perfectly well if we simply indicate the sounds of the spoken language. In practice there are cases where we can get further clarity or succinctness by using in writing resources which are not available in speech. Occasionally the apostrophe helps. Therefore, like all other pedants, I regret its erosion. A pity to lose something that occasionally comes in handy.
However, the language is being eroded and it's perfectly natural that it should, just as it was natural that Anglo-Saxon should be eroded by - among other things - the Norman occupation.
One interpretation of the Canute legend is that he commanded the sea to retreat in order to get it into the heads of his staff that there were limits to what he could do.
Anyway, aphostrophe's aint grammar.
Missing apostrophes, how about entire words?
"showing contempt for the large number of area's residents who take a pride in the English language"
That's *the* area's residents.
The other option is to move the apostrophe in "area's". If it is a number of areas rather than residents it should be "showing contempt for a large number of areas' residents"
Aren't apostrophes fun!!?
Get a life! The whole world has already dumbed down incredibly & as far as apostrophes' requirements are concerned, who gives a flying fox. Especially when it's a street name. The street doesn't actually own anything anyway so it's not true ownership. To all those pronouns (THEM) who sanctify their lives on this horse-crap, get a life!
In Cambridge we have a road named Bene't Street. The full name of the road is Benedict Street but it is not signposted as such. St Benedict's Church, for which the road is named (we're imaginative with road names in Cambridge but at least it makes finding places easier!) is also more commonly referred to as St Bene'ts.
@ John Harding: You are correct that we have no way of pronouncing apostrophes. What you do have when you listen to someone is nuance. With the written word, missing apostrophes can leave the meaning of a sentence so ambiguous that one has to read it through a couple of times, mentally applying a different nuance, to decide the correct meaning.
Our province of Newfoundland & Labrador has a capital called "St. John's". Our province of New Brunswick has a capital called "St. John". To avoid confusion, we just remember that the apostrophe indicates and ocean between them. Without the apostrophe, how would we remember? I'm all for apostrophes!
Having chosen English as the preferred language in the EEC, the European
Parliament has commissioned a feasibility study in ways of improving
efficiency in communications between Government departments.
European officials have often pointed out that English spelling is
unnecessarily difficult - for example, cough, plough, rough, through and
thorough. What is clearly needed is a phased programme of changes to
iron out these anomalies. The programme would, of course, be
administered by a committee staff at top level by participating nations.
In the first year, for example, the committee would suggest using 's'
instead of the soft 'c'. Sertainly, sivil servants in all sities would
resieve this news with joy. Then the hard 'c' could be replaced by 'k'
sinse both letters are pronounsed alike. Not only would this klear up
konfusion in the minds of klerikal workers, but typewriters kould be
made with one less letter.
There would be growing enthusiasm when in the sekond year, it kould be
announsed that the troublesome 'ph' would henseforth be written 'f'.
This would make words like 'fotograf' twenty per sent shorter in print.
In the third year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted
to reash the stage where more komplikated shanges are possible.
Governments would enkourage the removal of double letters which have
always been a deterent to akurate speling.
We would al agre that the horible mes of silent 'e's in the languag is
disgrasful. Therefor we kould drop thes and kontinu to read and writ as
though nothing had hapend. By this tim it would be four years sins the
skem began and peopl would be reseptive to steps sutsh as replasing 'th'
by 'z'. Perhaps zen ze funktion of 'w' kould be taken on by 'v', vitsh
is, after al, half a 'w'. Shortly after zis, ze unesesary 'o kould be
dropd from words kontaining 'ou'. Similar arguments vud of kors be aplid
to ozer kombinations of leters.
Kontinuing zis proses yer after yer, ve vud eventuli hav a reli sensibl
riten styl. After tventi yers zer vud be no mor trubls, difikultis and
evrivun vud fin it ezi tu understand ech ozer. Ze drems of the Guvermnt
vud finali hav kum tru.