Thursday, September 27, 2007

Quick I'm Hyphenventilating

I love the English Language . . I love its amorphous nature, the fact that you can get everything the wrong way round or misspelled and yet it still works. The fact that there are a thousand different words for the same thing . . just look at a lipstick or paint colour chart! I love that it’s this fantastic hybrid of thousands of years of invasion and influence. It’s rebellious and despite the Victorian’s best efforts to confine us to grammatical rules . . .I aint havin’ none of it!. As a student of literature, I loved it’s descriptiveness, it’s vaguaries, it’s versatility. I love the spoken word, slang, colloquial or otherwise. Yes, even that word has time and place.

This probably explains my difficulty with punctuation. I have no respect for it. I write as I speak, generally. I’ve always been a weak spellerer. Something to do with right to left brain exchange. So much so that whilst at Uni the now late Australian Author, Thea Astley used to deduct marks for spelling mistakes in my literature essays, no matter how good they were. She’d knock off half a mark for a grammatical error and one for spelling. I thought that’s what sub-editors and proofreaders were for! I was therefore very relieved to fall into a journalistic/creative writing career where someone else worried about all those commas, colons and full stops as well as my shocking spllig. As a result, my writing style is a little rambly but definitely narrative and conversational. A bit like me after three glasses of bubbly.

So it’s no skin of my nose to discover that 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.

Ice-cream is now icecream (we always knew it was Icecream, youscream, we allscream for icecream) but now it has even more companions. The word ‘email’ apparently yields more Google search results than ‘e-mail’. The poor old hyphen has been made obsolete through conversations conducted via text and email, spread on the interwebyness and seepage into newspapers and even books. Another factor in the hyphen's demise is designers' distaste for its ungainly horizontal bulk between words. Yeay, a victory for the arty farty.

Personally, I’m ambivolent about the hyphen although I’m not a fan of hyphenated names:

I mean one could retain Hilary Smythe-Bottomly . . .but it has the smell of the hunt about it. Besides, from a personal perpective, I fought long and hard for my married name. Ray had to chase me pretty hard before I caught him, it was exausting! I’m not giving it up. Had I married Mr Cocks or Mr Bottom, I might have thought differently.

So now Adam and Eve wear a figleaf and should get off their hobbyhorse and stop being crybabies about being castout from the garden for eating icecream. They’re lucky to escape with their pinmoney and something to cover Eve’s potbelly. Perhaps they should have considered testtube conception prior to doing the deed on their waterbed and playing sexual leapfrog, the lowlife outcasts. I hate to pigeonhole them but they did take it over the touchline!


10 comments:

Daz said...

If I wasn't so tired I'd ask you to explain this post ...

Baino said...

Well if you could find a skype connection where you don't sound like you're calling from mars and did't have a Heineken hangover I could explain.

Daz said...

It wasn't a hangover - it was Heineken's fault. It's piss and it's cheap.

It's student beer.

K8 the Gr8 said...

Heineken can be quite getusedtoable. (New word!) It's the only beer I can get in my local to take away. You want pish, you drink Fosters! They used to give you foster dollars in UCD it was that bad.

K8 the Gr8 said...

Hey wouldye look at that, I forgot to comment what I originally meant to comment.

In Dza's defcene, I got ptrtey coesunfd todraws the end of tihs psot, but the rset of it mkeas pefcert snsee to me...

Baino said...

Right you two younglings. Two things. Aussies don't drink Fosters any more, prolly why they're trying to give it a way.

And, the last paragraph is filled with words that used to be hyphenated but aren't any more. There was a list of words on the article I was reading so I just made up a nonesensical para to incorporate them (and I was sober when I did it . . .mmm maybe that's the problem.)

Daz said...

What?? You mean when I'm supposedly drinking Australian I'm not??

Then why do I keep thinking I'mn Alf from Neighbours??

Baino said...

Stone the crows Daz . . Alf is from Home and Away! Struth!

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

You would probably make a great scriptwriter, stream of consciousness writer or writer of dialogue. Trust me, writing as you speak has definite strengths. It is only anal teachers who fail to see that.
Now, about this hyp-hen (oh, no, hang on that's someone else of my acquaintance...)
I like hyphens, I like creating new-words using hyphens - I can't stand lazy-gits who can't be bothered with hyp-hens - they just don't know how much-fun a hyp-hen can be!

And pass the daz kid another beer, he can have a Castle or a Lion and go all S'Efriken... Alf from Neighbours?! Tsk!

Daz said...

Ah it's all the same. All I know is that both those shitty shows are on lunchtime.