Standing on Points: A Cultural History of Punctuation
By Florence Hazrat
What this podcast is *not*: a rule guide on proper punctuation.
We'll only conjure the ghost of grammar in order to put it to rest.
What this podcast *is*: a journey through the weird behaviour of punctuation in the wild. Be prepared to amble on the placid path of the comma, get lost on the winding road of brackets, and arrive at the well-deserved rest of the full stop.
Along the way, we'll explore the past & future of punctuation, why a comma sparked the Russian Revolution, how to earn millions with a semicolon, and what your favourite mark says about you.
Mind your dots & dashes!
Yo!!! Join me on a journey from medieval manuscripts to text messages, comics, music, linguistics, and chess, and discover the where and why of the !!!!! Also, what's the town with the most ! in its name? Listen in and find out. Or rather 'out!'.
How would you explain memes to Shakespeare? Can you be funny with climate change? And why is death too awful to gets its own line in a poem? Join me in a conversation with poet Nadia Lines about writing, the pandemic, ecology, old poets, young poets, and of course punctuation.
Find her poems here:
You can follow her on Twitter here:
Digitization has rung the death knoll to many a punctuation mark, and other features of navigating the text like paragraphs and indentation. Or has it? Surprisingly, the simple act of dividing a text through blank lines into paragraphs has not always been practised, and so, its status is not at all a given in the future's exponentially growing online communication. In this episode, we think about what paragraphs and indentations are, why we have them, and why it might be smart to hang onto them just a little longer. Listen in for the history of blanks, and some nerdy typography digressions to boot!
What do fingers and books have in common? They point. To this. To elsewhere.
An index helps with that, that of the hand, and that in a book. But how did books actually come to have them? And what are they useful for?
This episode traces the development of indexes (or indices!), that under-estimated text navigation technology that's still with us today in for of Google searches.
Of the impossibility of imposing rules on an unruly system.
Are you a stickler when it comes to grammar or punctuation? Then don't listen to this one.
Some thoughts in defence of an expansive sense of language (read, in defence of mistakes and ambiguity).
I continue the long second part of the history of punctuation, exploring mini-biographies of the parenthesis, ellipses (DOT DOT DOT), and quotation marks. From the Renaissance, I also rush through to the present day, touching on digital punctuation. But that's for another episode!
Apostrophe, semi-colon, comma, parentheses, ellipses, quotation marks -- six marks and counting within 200 years. How come there is an explosion of punctuation marks in between 1400 and 1600? What were the intellectual and technological factors accounting for such a boom?
This is part 1 of part 2 of the history of punctuation -- I realized part is a long history, so there are two parts of part 2!
What do you think about first when you hear 'punctuation'? Dots, dashes, question marks, right? But what is the most important punctuation was no punctuation at all...? In this episode, I explore...nothing. In praise of emptiness!
How did punctuation marks get their names? Are they called the same in different languages? And what can the names of marks tell us about our attitudes to language, and our cultural identities? Have a listen if you want to know what the comma has to do with penises, erect and otherwise. Yes, this is what she said.
Why do we use dots, why does he exclamation mark look like it does, and what do emoji have to do with it? In this episode, I share some thoughts on the shape of punctuation marks, how they came to look like the way they do, and why that's efficient.
In the beginning there was the word, ANDTHEWORDWASWRITTENLIKETHAT -- and nobody was able to read at first sight!
In this episode, we explore why the Greeks and Romans were bad at punctuation, and how bunch of monks from Ireland invented the single most useful element of punctuation: white space.
Is an emoji a mark of punctuation? What's the use of exclamation marks? And can punctuation save lives? This launch episode explores what punctuation is (and isn't!), and why we should slow down and pay attention to it. Mind your dots and dashes!