Bunčić, Daniel (2004). The apostrophe: A neglected and misunderstood reading aid. Written Language and Literacy, 7 (2). pp. 185-204. Benjamins. ISSN 1387-6732

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The paper provides a new analysis of the apostrophe in various languages which is less redundant and complies better with linguistic intuition than traditional definitions. The apostrophe does not mark the omission of letters, as traditionally assumed (English it’s, German auf ’m ‘on the’, French l’ami ‘the friend’), but indicates important morpheme boundaries wherever this is necessary for certain reasons. Such an indication of a morpheme boundary can be necessitated by several factors, e.g. the omission of letters (English it’s, German auf ’m, French l’ami), proper names (Turkish Ankara’da ‘in Ankara’, English John’s), or graphical code-switching (English two l’s, Russian laptop’ов ‘laptop, gen. pl.’). This explanation covers even most violations of current orthographic norms, e.g. German Häus’chen ‘small house’, and it has no exceptions whatsoever in formal texts. (English isn’t, German ’nauf ‘up’, French p’tit ‘small’ are mere ‘transcripts’ of colloquial speech.)

Item Type: Journal Article
CreatorsEmailORCIDORCID Put Code
Bunčić, Danieldaniel@buncic.deUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
EditorsEmailORCIDORCID Put Code
URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-60067
Journal or Publication Title: Written Language and Literacy
Volume: 7
Number: 2
Page Range: pp. 185-204
Date: 2004
Publisher: Benjamins
ISSN: 1387-6732
Language: English
Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Fächergruppe 5: Moderne Sprachen und Kulturen > Slavisches Institut
Subjects: Language, Linguistics
Uncontrolled Keywords:
apostrophe, punctuation, graphematics, orthography, morphologyEnglish
Apostroph, Interpunktion, Graphematik, Orthographie, MorphologieGerman
Refereed: Yes
URI: http://kups.ub.uni-koeln.de/id/eprint/6006


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