27 May, 2005 at 11:21 Leave a comment

Information in Punctuations
[from BBC NEWS | Magazine | “How’s your punctuation?” http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/3256388.stm%5D
A book about English grammar and the misuse of punctuation marks has become a surprise festive bestseller. 

“Eats, Shoots and Leaves”, the brainchild of author Lynne Truss, is subtitled ‘The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation’.

On Sunday it topped the bestseller list of the UK online retailer Amazon, and is into its sixth reprint since publication last month. A US edition has also been commissioned. Are you a teacher’s pet when it comes to the use of punctuation marks, or do stray apostrophes and random commas trip you up from time to time? Test yourself.”

Yeah, this is that {A woman without her man is nothing} vs. {A woman! Without her, man is nothing} stuff. And it is quite intriguing. Whatever it is, it always seemed to me that punctuations (and all other eye candy we use when writing) capture a lot of information and intent of the author. Like say, when sounding ironical, we put smilies at the end.
But then, for too long we have imposed structure over information transfer – we dont paginate a thread/line of thinking – we paginate on space. This is crucial information loss – yes, we have paragraphs and punctuations – but do we use them properly if at all? [get that link where a lady Professor tells us the importance of punctuation]

Irony is that even in a digital world of vastly superior processing power, we are bound by these things. During indexing, we still ‘trim’ out these characters by a isLetterOrWord() functions. Now, what is that?

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