Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Don't be such a crybaby (formerly cry-baby). The hyphen is no-more.

The new Oxford English Dictionary did something to the English language recently.

Something more horrific than all the mangled malapropisms of Archie Bunker, Norm Crosby or Prof. Irwin Corey combined.

The folks at the Oxford English Dictionary have "un-hyphenated" the English language ----that’s right. The hyphen for the most part is no-more. Or maybe it’s no more.

What’s next to go --- the comma, the question mark? Or perhaps: the colon. Maybe even the…ellipsis. "Quotes"? Maybe even the period will be cast off in to oblivion never to end a sentence ever again

According to Wikipedia, “The Oxford English Dictionary (OED)... is the most comprehensive dictionary of the English language…OED included about 301,100 main entries, comprising more than 350 million printed characters. It has 137,000 pronunciations, 249,300 etymologies, 577,000 cross-references, and 2,412,400 illustrative quotations.”

Wow! That's impressive! Ooops! Maybe the exclamation point is on their hit list, too!

Anyway, sounds like they really know their stuff. So why get rid of the hyphen? Does the small horizontal dash really bother the OED folks that much? What harm does a dash really do?

Some 16,000 words were either split in two, never to be connected by a little-dash-ever-again. And some words, once separated by a little dash, are now onebigcompoundword.

"People are not confident about using hyphens anymore, they're not really sure what they are for," said Angus Stevenson, editor of the Shorter OED.

Not confident? Is the self-esteem (or perhaps now it’s either selfesteem or maybe self esteem) of dash-users/dash users/dashusers really that much in jeopardy?

"Printed writing is very much design-led these days in adverts and Web sites, and people feel that hyphens mess up the look of a nice bit of typography," Stevenson continued. "The hyphen is seen as messy looking and old-fashioned…The whole process of changing the spelling of words in the dictionary is all based on our analysis of evidence of language, it's not just what we think looks better.”

You decide:

RECENTLY DIVORCED WORDS: Formerly hyphenated words split in to two words, never to be together again:

fig leaf

hobby horse

ice cream

pot belly

test tube

water bed

NOW, MARRIED FOREVER---Formerly hyphenated words unified as one now and forever:









1 comment:

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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