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The apostrophe: A neglected and misunderstood reading aid

Bunčić, Daniel (2004) The apostrophe: A neglected and misunderstood reading aid. Written Language and Literacy, 7 (2). pp. 185-204. 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: Article
    Bunčić, Danieldaniel@buncic.de
    Neef, Martin
    Primus, Beatrice
    URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-60067
    Journal or Publication Title: Written Language and Literacy
    Publisher: Benjamins
    ISSN: 1387-6732
    Volume: 7
    Number: 2
    Subjects: Language, Linguistics
    Uncontrolled Keywords:
    apostrophe, punctuation, graphematics, orthography, morphologyEnglish
    Apostroph, Interpunktion, Graphematik, Orthographie, MorphologieGerman
    Faculty: Philosophische Fakultät
    Divisions: Philosophische Fakultät > Slavisches Institut
    Language: English
    Date: 2004
    Date Type: Publication
    Full Text Status: Public
    Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2015 08:11:45
    URI: http://kups.ub.uni-koeln.de/id/eprint/6006

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