Metapunctuation When a Comma Isn’t Enough


Paperback: 212

Publisher: Dell

Language: English

ISBN-10: 9780595002429

From the Publisher

The richness of English comes from its enormous vocabulary—upward of a million words. But how many punctuation marks are available to help communicate all the subtlety and nuances of the language? A piddling handful of tired, overworked dots, dashes, and devices that fall short when it comes to delivering the written word as the writer intended it.

Metapunctuation, the product of the brilliant if somewhat askew mind of Lewis Burke Frumkes, adds the absent flair and precision, ends ambiguity, and makes manifest all of English’s unspoken jabs, frowns, inflections, passions, and innuendos. Delacorte through its Dell division was publishing a language series called The Intrepid Linguist. Word lovers such as Richard Lederer and William Safire were writing books for it. Somehow I was invited to do a book and the result was Metapunctuation.

From the Author

It had occurred to me that the vocabulary of English had grown from 50,000 words in Shakespeare’s time to over a million and a half words today but that the same dozen or so punctuation marks served the language as in Alcuin’s time around one thousand AD. Written English it seemed to me could use some more punctuation to deal with all the subtleties of the language and to make it clearer. Mathematics and music both had superscript notational systems to amplify their meanings…why not English itself. Thus was born Metapunctuation. And while I wrote it with my tongue firmly ensconced in my cheek I secretly hoped serious linguists would pick up on it. Some actually did.

Other Lewis' Books