Punctuation Day is happening this week, so it’s time to take a look at the marks we use to convey emotion and give structure to our sentences.

But things are changing. Is the humble slash becoming a word? What’s an interrobang? And what new punctuation marks do we really need?

Linguist Daniel Midgley makes his mark on this episode of Talk the Talk.


Listen to this episode

Or subscribe via iTunes
Click here for more options: How to listen to Talk the Talk


It was Punctuation Day this week! Oh, sure, you may think that this is one of those silly made-up holidays like Laundry Day, or National Hugging Day. Well, yes, it is.

But on some level, don’t you find punctuation interesting? No‽ Perhaps it will after this podcast. And if not, it’s still fun to hear Ben clawing for the exits when we veer too close to typography for his liking.

In this week’s podcast, I agitate for a question mark for downward intonation. Here’s the ad that sparked my quest.

Is she being charmingly evasive, or did she just not hear you? With the regular ol’ question mark, there’s no way to be sure. But use the downward pointing arrow, and

What?

turns into

What▾

Now you get her gist, ¿do you not?


Show notes

‘Talk Like a Pirate Day’ is just soooo mainstream.
http://www.daysoftheyear.com/days/talk-like-a-pirate-day/

It’s Punctuation Day!
http://www.nationalpunctuationday.com/

This episode brought to you by these 14 marks.
http://grammar.yourdictionary.com/punctuation/what/Fourteen-Punctuation-Marks.html

Slash! The conjunction
http://chronicle.com/blogs/linguafranca/2013/04/24/slash-not-just-a-punctuation-mark-anymore/
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/04/24/178892759/a-rare-bird-sighting-slash-as-a-new-conjunction

Punctuation marks we need
http://www.collegehumor.com/article/6872071/8-new-and-necessary-punctuation-marks

The SarcMark: This implementation is not a good idea.
http://02d9656.netsoljsp.com/SarcMark/modules/user/commonfiles/loadhome.do

Why not try the reversed question mark instead?
http://www.fileformat.info/info/unicode/char/2e2e/index.htm

Everyone should use interrobangs. Right‽
http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/15/social-media-icon-interrobang

The Toblerone ad. It says “What?”, but it needs to say “What▾”.
http://alaynarqaa9.edublogs.org/files/2010/12/Toblerone-Ad-21anzxc.jpg

How did the exclamation point get to be that way?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exclamation_mark

Not everyone likes them.
http://www.theguardian.com/books/2009/apr/29/exclamation-mark-punctuation

The question mark has a history.
http://historicallyirrelevant.com/post/3708038709/the-history-of-the-question-mark

So does the at-sign.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/At_sign

In Spanish, you can use @ to be gender-neutral.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender-neutrality_in_Spanish_and_Portuguese

The creepy Northampton clown induces coulrophobia in onlookers.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/just-harmless-fun-the-creepy-clown-of-northampton-speaks-outbeep-beep-8826179.html

The author of the Online Etymological Dictionary isn’t impressed with that word.
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=coulrophobia

Anatidaephobia
http://jessicalouise.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/anatidaephobia.png


Show tunes

‘Silver Surfer, Ghost Rider Go!!!’ by Trentemøller
from the album Into the Great Wide Yonder

‘Answers and Questions’ by Earlimart
from the album Mentor Tormentor