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4 May, 2006

Punk'd Uation

It seems that the BBC is to introduce a TV quiz show based on the premise that English punctuation, a topic presumably including grammar, is deteriorating.  I'm sure they'll make it a little more thrilling than that sounds.

However, some indication of the seriousness with which the BBC regards the issue is provided by the fact that the quiz is to be presented by Julian Fellowes, an actor with a slightly pompous, slightly precious manner, who tends to be associated with emotionally sterile dramas set in a 1920s & 30s Middle England that never really existed. I can't avoid the expectation that the prejudice to be reinforced is that proper use of the language is a whimsical, antiquated concept, as relevant to modern society as an ability to conjugate Latin verbs.

If it at least raises awareness, I suppose that's something, but I just hope the topic isn't actively ridiculed.

Not that English is a static, dead language, of course. Coincidentally, whilst writing this entry, I noticed an article in the Guardian about the evolution of usage. Bizarrely, the first paragraph blames the 'internet culture' for inaccuracies, but it's only a conduit, one of several by which people communicate – the medium doesn't necessarily determine the message.

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