Thursday, March 28, 2013

 

The vanishing apostrophe

According to the paper this morning (March 28) the grammarian class is exercised by the decision of a small town to omit the apostrophe (') from street signs.  According to the article, KING'S CRESCENT and ST. PAUL'S SQUARE signs will be printed as KINGS CRESCENT and ST. PAULS SQUARE.  The article also records the loss or misuse of the apostrophe in many publications in England.  The apostrophe may be on its way to oblivion along with obsolete letters such as thorn (Þ) and edh (Ð).

English spelling is really bad. with or without the apostrophe.  Consider a few examples of pairs of words that appear to be rhymes but aren't:  meat, great; beak, break; eight, height.  Also consider pairs of words that do rhyme but appear not to: feet, feat; grate, great; frown, grown.  In addition to the common combination gh which is generally silent but isn't in a few words, such as though, laugh, draught (English spelling; we spell it draft), and cough English spelling is full of "silent" letters.

In my opinion (remember, this blog is all about my OPINIONS) the grammarians should devote their available time to devising a better spelling system for our language instead of fussing over lost or misplaced apostrophes.  The city council that decided to omit the apostrophes from a few street signs might have headed off the controversy if they'd merely said they wanted to save money on the paint for the signs.

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