Saturday, August 25, 2007

Revolutionary New Punctuation Mark

With the constant evolution of spoken language, the written form is often left in a more conservative position. As is common with urban slang, it takes time before it's accepted and eventually incorporated within some orthographic structure.

Irony and sarcasm, are often lost on the written form. Some forms, such as satire, are nuanced, and they feed on the confusion and difficulties in understanding it. Other forms of irony, such as sarcasm, can often go unnoticed, and frequently the intention of the author is completely misconstrued due to a misunderstanding of tone. Through spoken word, we can inflect various parts of the sentence, to reflect the sarcasm, or irony that we seek. However, written, it becomes very difficult to determine the moment of inflection and therefore, it is frequently improperly interpreted.

My solution would be the addition of a New Punctuation Mark, I shall call the IRONY MARK. Looking at the keyboard, there is a symbol that is infrequently used, and can substitute, if not be eventually used as the Irony Mark. This would be the "~" symbol. Also, borrowing from the Armenian written language, where the punctuation mark is not placed at the end of the sentence, but at the point of inflection, the ~ symbol would be placed within the sentence, where the turn of voice would occur. For example, in English, one would say "Does anybody know where the car is?", but in Armenian, the question mark (which is a different symbol) would be placed where the voice is inflected within the sentence. Does anybody know? where the car is. Furthermore, the inflection could be on another part of the sentence, and therefore, the question mark would be adjusted accordingly. One could also say "Does? anybody know where the car is. Or "Does anybody? know where the car is. Or even, Does anybody know where the car? is.

Having considered the previous examples, we can therefore attempt to determine how one would use the Irony mark. Would we place it, like the question mark in English, at the end of the sentence,? Or, should we place it where the inflection of the voice occurs? For example, the statement "Through his amazing insight, he was able to locate the car after 3 hours" would probably be used sarcastically. Therefore, the Irony mark could be used as follows: "Through his amazing~ insight, he was able to locate the car after 3 hours". If we would place the Irony mark at the end of the sentence, it would still be recognized as a sarcastic statement, but the nuance and subtle voice chance would be lost. What is irony without the powerful tool of the subtle change of voice? We could also use the Irony mark where it would be even more necessary. For example "The garden tomatoes were the best~ tasting ones I've ever~ had." Here, we could use two Irony marks to recognize that this statement was truly a sarcastic remark. A final example to illustrate the need of the Irony mark will highlight why it should be used for more then just sarcasm. In a situational Irony, the Irony mark could be used to enhance and "flavor" a statement. "Even in the worst of times, she had~ to be a hard worker because very few were able to determine just how she was able to purchase the new mansion down the street." Here, the irony in this situation is itself located with the Irony mark. This sentence can now be read with suspicion of some form of unmentioned implication. The irony in this example, would be that she wasn't a hard worker, and must have earned the money for the mansion through some means as yet unmentioned and perhaps sinister or clandestine. The purists will say that subtlety will be lost with the irony mark, but I believe that with any loss, there can also be benefits. Determining if the benefits outweigh the losses will be up to those who can perpetuate this new Punctuation Mark. Perhaps it will be used only informally, but I believe that even then, it can add to the richness and variety of the written language

1 comment:

September said...

Great work.