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punctuate / punctuation

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punctuate / punctuation

Postby tapoensgen » Tue Dec 18, 2012 7:41 am

This might be a wonderful and apt Good Word. It seems fairly obvious that it originates from the Latin punctum. However, a different theory suggests that its root lies with the Irish punc meaning dot. As we know (or should know), Irish monks were very early educators, missionaries and bible translators. It is claimed that the Irish actually invented the full stop at the end of sentences in order to make better sense of them in translation. Original Latin and Greek versions of the bible had no such helpful tool. Hence the Irish claim of the invention of the full stop, this little helpful device. Where would we be without it today?
Interestingly enough, another explanation of the origin of the word punk lies in punc as something small and insignificant. Images of Irish New York cops come to mind, pointing at rowdy youths and yelling "come here you little punk"...
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Re: punctuate / punctuation

Postby Slava » Tue Dec 18, 2012 1:07 pm

Punk is also the name of the little critter in most of Pat Oliphant's political cartoons.
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Re: punctuate / punctuation

Postby Perry Lassiter » Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:29 pm

A quick rundown of several dictionaries indicates that many words derive from this same source: puncture, point, and others. I wonder why you and others use the term full stop instead of period. A full stop defines period, of course, but if I'm referring to the little dot at the end of a sentence, I call it a period. Anyone know?
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Re: punctuate / punctuation

Postby Perry Lassiter » Tue Dec 18, 2012 5:31 pm

Also, you are certainly right about the monks. Even if you can't read Greek or Hebrew, take a look at pictures of the oldest manuscripts. Not surprisingly, where to divide the letters and sentences frequently crops up in commentaries.
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Re: punctuate / punctuation

Postby Philip Hudson » Tue Dec 18, 2012 7:07 pm

The Sumerians used a stylus to inscribe a pattern of punctums in soft clay. These comprised a written language.

When I need a full stop I use a period. Period!
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Re: punctuate / punctuation

Postby Perry Lassiter » Tue Dec 18, 2012 7:25 pm

That lingo was cuneiform, Philip.
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Re: punctuate / punctuation

Postby Philip Hudson » Wed Dec 19, 2012 1:35 pm

Right, Perry. I guess they would be called cuneums instead of punctums. I know, I am just making up words.
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