I never meant for the numbering of these posts to have any significance other than to tell them apart, but it’s still gratifying to have hit the century after (checks notes) a mere eleven years and six-ish months. For reference, here’s the first ever miscellany post, published way back in November 2011. Amusingly, it is unnumbered. Who’d have thought I’d have needed more than a single post to tie up some loose ends?
So: time to catch up! Here are a few links to punctuational goings-on from the past couple of months.
First up, pan-European typefoundry Underware recently took some time to dive into the importance of the pointing hand, or manicule (☞). It’s an old mark, hailing back to the days when the readers of manuscripts and early printed books would draw little pointing hands in the margins to call attention to passages of interest. Though the manicule survived in print, it gradually slid from its previously exalted position, yielding the job of linking footnotes and text to the likes of the asterisk (*) and dagger (†). And yet, in common with the ampersand (&) and the pilcrow (¶), the manicule continues to offer discerning type designers a chance to flex their creative muscles. As Underware’s unnamed writer says in “There you go”,
ran from Mont-Saint-Michel to Utah Beach/Sainte-Marie-du-Mont, along the north-west coast of the Manche region, on the second of July. As the riders followed the 188km route, they passed through the little town of Gouville-sur-Mer, which, in the time-honoured tradition of provincial villages that the Tour visits but once every few decades or so, laid out its slogan for the TV helicopter to see: Gouville-sur-Mer, capitale mondiale de l’huître de pleine mer (Gouville-on-sea, world capital of the open sea oyster).
I’m on holiday this week, spending some time in sunny Wisconsin with my wife Leigh’s family, but a minor kerfuffle in the world of punctuation has come to pass that demands comment.
The issue is this: is the full stop on the ropes? That’s the thesis being discussed by newspaper writers in both Europe and America, prompted by remarks made by David Crystal at the recent Hay Festival. As quoted by the Telegraph’s Hannah Furness, Dr Crystal said:
In lieu of a post this week, head over to BBC.com’s Culture section to read my article about “The Mysterious Origins of Punctuation” — it’s hot off the presses! Want to chat about it? Post a comment here or over at the related Facebook post. Shady Characters readers will be right at home, and I hope you enjoy it!