Friday, April 4, 2008

The death of the semicolon in France. C'est vrai.

Only in France:
To listen to France's small but growing army of semicolon fans, the full-frontal assault on the semicolon launched by uncultured modern writers and journalists and spearheaded by those idiot Anglo-Saxons is, sadly, just another symptom of the present-day malaise of French language and culture. As the great early 20th-century Gallic novelist, essayist, playwright and Academician Henry Marie Joseph Frédéric Expedite Millon de Montherlant so succinctly put it in his Carnets: "One immediately recognises a man of judgment by the use he makes of the semicolon." M de Montherlant would not, hélas, recognise a great many men of judgment these days.
More here.


S. E. Ward said...

Anti-punctuationists can pry the semicolon from my cold, dead hand.

Also, WTF? Don't they understand that if you want to keep a piece of punctuation in circulation, you just have to keep using it? That's how language works!

nicola said...

I am addicted to the semicolon; it rocks.

Joya said...

Poor little semicolon! But with texting being so popular, it's only a matter of time before people start writing articles about +He d3@+h 0F 9RAMM4r alL T0gE+her!!1

That will be a sad and annoying day. :(

Sophie said...

oh, do i ever love semicolons! I myself have blogged about them. I'll never give them up.

Spectre-7 said...

"I realize that some of you may have come in hopes of hearing tips on how to become a professional writer. I say to you, 'If you really want to hurt your parents, and you don’t have the nerve to be a homosexual, the least you can do is go into the arts. But do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites, standing for absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college.'" -- Kurt Vonnegut

I still use semicolons, but that quote comes to mind every single time I do. It usually leaves a wry smile on my face.

On to more pressing matters... Why don't we have a punctuation mark to denote sarcasm? It's often marked by tone of voice, just as exclamations and questions are, and think of all the adverbs that could be avoided through its use. I'd call such a thing a Sarcasmo.

PJ said...

If Monsieur had any sympathy for the rest of us, then he would have already shortened that nome by several dead relatives already and recognized the awesome semicolon for the paragon of cool punctuation that it truly is.


nymeria87 said...

Haha, nice idea, spectre-7, but wouldn't that take the "Oh? But I thought you were serious"-effect away from sarcasm. I'm personally totally using it at will :)

We should start a campagne for more semicolons ;)

annathepiper said...

Joya--I work for a paper; we've already run articles about the death of grammar altogether.

Anna the Piper (who does love her some semi-colons, and who has to rein herself in to keep her from sprinkling them with liberal abandon all over her manuscripts)

Hunter said...

D'accord, Je ne escrit jamias pas le semicolon!

My French professor said the ministry of language was quite intent on preserving the language. Maybe in another one hundred years the period will go.


Nathan said...

I had a little problem with my semicolon a couple of years ago but the medicine cleared it right up.


Nathan said...

Oh, and BTW Colleen,

We're having a round-robin writing game over on my blog, and Tania just worked you into the Part 15.

Bernita said...

Quel horreur!