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Birmingham bans apostrophes
Posted: 02 February 2009 01:56 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I find this dismaying:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28938136/

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Posted: 02 February 2009 02:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I find my reserves of dismay are too depleted to spare any for this, but I have a mild wish that they hadn’t done it.

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Posted: 02 February 2009 05:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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That seems to have been the way in most places in Australia for quite some time. Garners Beach, Bahrs Scrub, Grahams Creek. The exception that comes to mind is D’aguilar: perhaps the moratorium on apostrophes only applies to those used for possession.

Although I suspect that the action has been basically harmless, I don’t see that there is any benefit. Presumably there is a cost involved in repainting signs and reprinting documents, so it would seem wasteful to remove the apostrophes for no good reason.

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Posted: 03 February 2009 04:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I find it interesting that a South Leftpondian would find dismaying the institution in a city in Rightpondia of a practice that has been in effect in Leftpondia for some time now, not only for street names but for city names, too.

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Posted: 03 February 2009 06:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Faldage - 03 February 2009 04:15 AM

I find it interesting that a South Leftpondian would find dismaying the institution in a city in Rightpondia of a practice that has been in effect in Leftpondia for some time now, not only for street names but for city names, too.

Why wouldn’t he? We all speak the same language (more or less). I certainly don’t restrict myself to reacting to only British instances of slipshod language.

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Posted: 03 February 2009 06:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I’m sure I’ve said this before, but I don’t see any benefit in retaining apostrophes, and usually I’m fairly reactionary about this sort of thing.

The purpose of conventions in written English is to aid the reader’s comprehension of things that would be obvious in the spoken language through intonation and non-verbal cues. This doesn’t apply in the vast majority of cases involving apostrophes.

Yes, it does in cases like I’ll v Ill (though only at the beginning of a sentence) or we’re v were. And I’m sure someone can come up with a few sentences where other apostrophes might result in ambiguity if omitted. But these are few and far between.

How many people know that it’s Earl’s Court, but Barons Court? Lloyds was the bank that merged with TSB, but it’s Lloyd’s of London. It’s the Communication Workers’ Union, but the Transport and General Workers Union. I know all this, because I have to correct it when other people make mistakes.  And it does make me lose the will to live.

Quite frankly, it’s a hell of a lot of wasted time in exchange for very little benefit to the reader.

Incidentally, I lived for a number of years on Tanner[’]s[’] Hill. I never did find out whether there was supposed to be an apostrophe in the name or not, as ‘official’ references to the place seemed unsure on this point.

[ Edited: 03 February 2009 06:35 AM by kurwamac ]
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Posted: 03 February 2009 09:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Tuppence worth from the Caledonian part of Rightpondia.

Princes Street in Edinburgh is definitely apostrophe-less and well known as such to the extent that it is something of a touchstone to expose ignorant southerners who want to put one in. I haven’t a clue whether Princes Street ever had an apostrophe and which position it occupied.

The street in which I live is, rather unusually, named St Andrew Street. Unless they are in the know, most people will hear it and write it down as St Andrew’s Street. This appears to have included the local council as just across from my house there is a cast iron street name which has clearly been cast as St Andrew’s Street and then had the apostrophe and the S rather crudely ground off.

I haven’t been able to discover the reason for the street being St Andrew Street without a possessive. It dates from about 1890 and runs across the back of the then new site of St Andrew’s church, for which it is presumably named. Since 1989, the church has been St Andrew Blackadder following the union of two parishes, so it joins the street in also being possessiveless.

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Posted: 03 February 2009 10:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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This certainly isn’t news, if the pictured sign is anything to go by.  By the looks of it, it was erected some time in the nineteenth century, so the habit of omitting apostrophes from signs is anything but recent. I wonder if, in fact, the practice was more common in the past, long with the practice of putting a dash between the two parts of a name as in Turl-Street (Oxford).

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Posted: 03 February 2009 11:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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This certainly isn’t news, if the pictured sign is anything to go by.  By the looks of it, it was erected some time in the nineteenth century, so the habit of omitting apostrophes from signs is anything but recent.

Many of the online articles about this showed photos (modern enough to be in color) of a with-apostrophe version of the sign, so I don’t think you’re on target, here. 

It appears that, having for some time used signs both with and without apostrophes, they’ve decided to declare the (Dare I say it? Yes, I dare.) wrong version standard.

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Posted: 03 February 2009 11:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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’FOR SALE’

One small apostrophe, nearly new and hardly used. 
Offer’s.

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Posted: 03 February 2009 02:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Dr. Techie - 03 February 2009 11:09 AM

Many of the online articles about this showed photos (modern enough to be in color) of a with-apostrophe version of the sign, so I don’t think you’re on target, here.

Well, it certainly looks C19th (and so does the church behind it), if not early C19th, from the lettering, but perhaps it’s a replica. Could you point me at a picture with-apostrophe version, please?

Of course, once you enter into the world of British place-names, there really are no rules, e.g Bishops Lydeard, but Bishop’s Stortford. Also the apostrophe has long since departed, if it ever existed, from the middle of names like Kingsbury Episcopi (So whose was it?)

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Posted: 03 February 2009 02:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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"This certainly isn’t news”

That Birmingham is going to change the remaining street names containing apostrophes certainly is news.

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Posted: 03 February 2009 03:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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bayard - 03 February 2009 02:20 PM

Could you point me at a picture with-apostrophe version, please?

Here’s one.

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Posted: 03 February 2009 03:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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bayard - 03 February 2009 02:20 PM

Could you point me at a picture with-apostrophe version, please?

Here’s one.

Another photo, possibly of the same sign, here.

(Oops! Intended to edit, not double-post.)

[ Edited: 03 February 2009 07:05 PM by Dr. Techie ]
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Posted: 03 February 2009 03:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Near where I live is a street with three different versions of its name on the streetsigns: Queen Anns Close, Queen Ann’s Close and Queen Anne’s Close. Only one of these is corect both grammatically and historically ...

The city of St Albans was the town of St Alban’s, but lost its apostrophe in the 19th century when it was accidently missed off the charter that gave the place its city status.

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Posted: 03 February 2009 05:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Zythophile - 03 February 2009 03:56 PM

Only one of these is corect both grammatically and historically ...

Presumably you are referring to ‘Queen Anne’s Close’. But Queen Anne isn’t close to anyone anymore. The one thing everyone knows about her is that Queen Anne’s dead.

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