Friday, July 01, 2005

another language blog

Not that anything will ever be as fun as listening for others in my vicinity to drop "a whole nother," but my favorite weird language thing is the appearance of innapropriate quotation marks in printed material. Although, actually, sometimes people accomplish innapropriate quotation marks verbally as well, through the use of "quoty fingers" - another amusing phenomena.

So, what I'm interested in here is quotation marks that appear for no reason. These often work to obscure the intended meaning to comic effect, at least if you're a punctuation nerd. Not that i know anyone like that.

The most recent example I have is from the Hope Summer Repatory Theatre program in one actor's bio. Something like you may remember his "hips" from last year's production of Bye Bye Birdie. So... were they not real hips? (maybe they were so not real)

Feel free to uncover and report your own examples in comments.


Anonymous said...

I must admit I enjoy the quoty whatnot. And the hips example: if the writer were to leave them unquoted, perhaps the reader would think the actor's personal hips to be of spectacular or horrific appearance, whereas employing "quotation marks" (hehe) may imply it was some ACTION using the hips that made them noteworthy, or a set of interesting costumed hips. The phrase without quotation marks ("you may remember his hips from last year...") makes me inner-dialogue "why would I remember someone's HIPS?"

Yeah, I'm sure you realize all of that already, but I do feel that quotes add a necessary emphasis or clue to another meaning that leaving them out would not do justice to.

Anonymous said...

It's "another amusing phenomenon"; "phenomena" is plural. (I mean, if we're going to pedantic...)

bethany said...

ok, you're right, but I'm leaving it because I wrote that over two years ago. I hadn't even started my masters degree at that point. The statute of limitations has run out.