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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Abstract

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
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Bunčić, Danieldaniel@buncic.deUNSPECIFIED
Editors:
EditorsEmailORCID
Neef, MartinUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Primus, BeatriceUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
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:
KeywordsLanguage
apostrophe, punctuation, graphematics, orthography, morphologyEnglish
Apostroph, Interpunktion, Graphematik, Orthographie, MorphologieGerman
Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Slavisches Institut
Language: English
Date: 2004
Refereed: Yes
Page Range: pp. 185-204
URI: http://kups.ub.uni-koeln.de/id/eprint/6006

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