The NYT catches up…

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Or maybe David Crystal does — as reported in Dan Bilefsky, "Period. Full Stop. Point. Whatever It's Called, It's Going Out of Style", NYT 6/9/2016. Better late than never, in any case.

For some background, see

"The new semiotics of punctuation", 11/7/2012
"Aggressive periods and the popularity of linguistics", 11/26/2013
"Generational punctuation differences again", 8/1/2014
"Query: Punctuation in personal digital media", 2/23/2015

And even: Jessica Bennett, "When your punctuation says it all (!)", NYT 2/27/2015



8 Comments

  1. Mike G said,

    June 10, 2016 @ 9:54 am

    When I talk (over the internet, obviously) to people who use periods and capital letters, I do it, but I feel like I'm speaking another language, the old one that I used in my childhood.

    what i really want to do is write like this, and i do with friends in specific places, but it feels very weird to do it "in public" like this

    (I've been talking to people on the internet for 19 years. wow.)

  2. Morten Jonsson said,

    June 10, 2016 @ 12:30 pm

    I'm missing something here. Is Crystal talking strictly about texts and tweets and such, where periods really aren't necessary? Or is he suggesting that they're on their way out in longer forms of writing as well? That's what's implied by the whimsical omitting of periods in the article. But since most of the paragraphs in it are one sentence, journalism-style, it's easy to get away with that.

  3. bratschegirl said,

    June 10, 2016 @ 12:44 pm

    I've bent as far as omitting a final period in texting back & forth with my kid, but otherwise I'm much too set in my ways (and/or too much of a curmudgeon) to give them up altogether. I did happily adapt when word processing made it unnecessary to hit the space bar twice, though, so I'm not a hopeless Luddite.

  4. Shadow-Slider said,

    June 10, 2016 @ 3:54 pm

    rwcnlvtnyvwlsndspcslkncnthbrwddnstd
    Here are some vowels and spaces to help you to understand the previous sentence A E I O U.

  5. David L said,

    June 10, 2016 @ 4:52 pm

    didnttheromansusedtojamalltheirletterstogetherwithoutspacesorpunctuationandfigureitwouldntbeallthathardtoreadlookwhereitgotthemthough

  6. Charles said,

    June 10, 2016 @ 6:33 pm

    @Morten: I have to say that I did not notice the lack of full stops while reading the article. It was only until I read some of the comments did I realise this. The fact that it's a newspaper article and thus each sentence is its own paragraph might be part of the reason, but who's to say that at some point trailing periods won't fall out of use completely?

  7. Artur J. said,

    June 11, 2016 @ 12:44 pm

    See this blog post by David Crystal:
    http://david-crystal.blogspot.co.uk/2016/06/on-reported-death-of-full-stop-period.html

  8. MikeA said,

    June 11, 2016 @ 6:57 pm

    I'm intrigued by Mike G "talking" over the Internet. Of course much of our voice conversation does, nowadays, travel over an internet (you can tell by the dropouts and "bottom of a rain barrel" audio, often), but his parenthetical suggest (and I infer) that by "talk" he means "converse in written (typed) text"

    It jogged my memory of the Forth programming language, whose originators took care to make common punctuation pronounceable, so code could be read over the phone (one of those things attached to the wall, where you spoke into and listened to a "handset" that could double as a defense against rodents). Of course, not all the punctuation followed the standard set by Victor Borge. Exclamation point was "bang", and in common with most folks today reading URLs and the like, "period" is pronounced "dot". Now if only we could get the average newsreader and advertiser to not use "slash" and "backslash" in the exact opposite sense.

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