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back to article Wakefield does a Brum with possessive apostrophes

Wakefield Council has done a Brum and dropped possessive apostrophes from street names, prompting a further wave of linguistic indignation from the good burghers of Middle England. According to the Telegraph, the move is intended to "avoid confusion". The council's director for planning and property, Ian Thompson, defended: " …

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Quite right

And some people take maths a little too seriously as well.

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@John Wells

ODFO.

How's that for text speak?

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Bah!

This is what happens when you ellect councillors who only did CSE English.

Thay has went to far!

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@Osiris

New Keyboard please!

Lester - why didn't you allow my last post??

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Punctuation

Im the first person to agree that my spelling, grammar and punctuation isn't the best, but I'm also not the person in charge of making things make sense!

I was at the hospital last week and whilst navigating the car park was greeted with the following sign... "No Parking Hospital Staff Only"

Does the sign indicate that area was parking for hospital staff only, or was the sign there to inform the hospial staff to not park there?

my mind boggled for a while until i noticed that the electricity box was locked with 8 different padlocks and with the rain pouring down like it was, that I would pity the fool that had to gain access to said box!

anyway... the general rambling point that I am struggling to make, is that punctuation and correct grammar should be enforced by our leaders when trying to convey a message to us minions...

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Flame

"I a'fert gor th'Adsa"

Next Week:

"I nd 2 go hm n c da kidz muva"

Someone please shoot the silly TWAT!

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Aaaaargh!

It's not fucking confusing, it's the English language.

Maybe if people stopped breeding like rabbits and there weren't so many scrotes hanging around, not bothering going to school, we might have a country that isn't on its arse.

I wernt nvr taut english proper in school me.

Honestly, the government says about failing this and failing that, it's their fault.

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Same rant as last time

But now with an extra complaint about text speak. Am I the only one whose phones have had T9, which actually knows how to spell? It takes longer (although admittedly fewer characters) to type an abbreviated word under T9 than the full version. Acronyms for expressions are another matter, but "ROTFLMAAOBPO" predates text messaging - although I can't speak for "LOL"; nobody things "CUL8R" is correct. If you want to blame anyone for bad spelling, blame marketeers ten years ago who thought that a plethora of "X", "K" and "Z" in names looked kewl^H^H^H^Hcool. (WAREZ, D00DZ!)

Skipping apostrophes is confusing - it hides meaning from place names that are otherwise ambiguous. Software should only need names to be distinct, not meaningful, so stripping punctuation at comparison time should be harmless; that's not the same as mangling the official names of places.

That said, I work in "Meadlake Place", which is opposite "Medlake Road", so maybe I should pick my battles.

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sig
Alert

More preparation for the rise of the machines

Council Functionary: "Apostrophes are not generally used in street names as they can lead to problems and confusion when data is transferred electronically for other uses."

Our robot overlords will be able to find and round us up all the more easily with the apostropes removed.

So instead of painting 'V' everywhere, just add punctuation to defeat the machines.

I for one don't welcome...

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Redundant punctuation

This piece of punctuation seems to have gone the way of the Dodo. I suspect that most of its uses are wrong, mainly erroneous plural"""s. English is a living language at least as far as it keeps the publishers of dictionaries in work. Let us phase out these anachronisms as they are no longer useful.

From an IT point of view these things are a confounded nuisance in key name and address fields which we depend on for providing services including emergency assistance to people.

Wakefield and Brum make sense, keep up the good work.

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Where to start

I'm annoyed inside, but I'm just losing the will to even bother arguing against this sort of nonsense!

As a software engineer, I get extremely frustrated by spelling mistakes and bad grammar in code comments, let alone actual written documents. If somebody can't be bothered to pay a bit of care and attention to use correct English, then what confidence can I have that they've paid any care and attention to the work itself.

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too complicated? your own native language?

i would have thought councils, of all people, would appreciate the disabiguation of the written word provided by the humble apostrophe.

While we're at it why don't we drop all of the Homophones too as they're obviously completely useless. Next, get rid of all those pesky commas. People generally don't know how to use those either so they might be too confusing!

you should also drop all grammatical rules too, as they are clearly too complicated for 99% of the population nowadays, which would make most other forms of punctuation redundant too.

I suppose spelling is quite complicated, so away with that, as long as people 'get the gist' of which word you meant I'm sure it will be fine.

What about all of those funny squiggly symbols people write, they are a bit complicated too. I mean we don't need 26 of them, do we. v, w, and u all look confusingly similar so replace with just v, the curvy bit of a u might prove too difficult. i & j could be mistaken so consolidate those too. In fact vowels are a bit useless altogether really so get rid of those completely. I'm sure we could cull a few more useless letters too.

And after all this, we'll have a completely illeterate population.

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Pirate

Bah!

"[Apostrophes] lead to problems and confusion when data is transferred electronically"

Damn. My plan to have my street renamed to ';DROP * FROM *; is foiled.

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@John Wells

ODFO.

How's that for text-speak?

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The answer

Is obviously for councils and other official bodies that can't hack proper English to restrict themselves to Basic English.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_English

That would have the important additional benefit of eliminating most of today's pompous, meaningless verbiage. The words would simply not be available in the authorised vocabulary. Just imagine how much better a world this would be if officials could only make simple, verifiable statements of fact.

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A better idea ...

... is to sack the Muppets who cannot spell.

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Happy

As for Brum..

..after the last article, I've yet to see a road sign in Brum WITH the apostrophe.

Fuss about nuffink's

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They do have a point about electronic communication...

Apostrophes do cause some problems when used on web pages, in databases and in SMTP addresses.

However, the general attitude that they just don't matter is a bad one.

As for this comment:

"Text messaging, email and internet chat rooms are showing us the way forward for English. Let's allow people greater freedom to spell logically. It's time to remove the fetish that says that correct spelling is a principal (principle?) mark of being educated."

While I have to admit to having problems with "accommodation" and other words with doubled-up letters, and don't have a problem with Americanisms such as center and color, I do have a problem when "know" is spelled "no" and "of", "off" and "have" are used interchangeably -- because it's fucking hard to read!

Language should, surely, be used according to the situation? If you're on a sinking ship, then "SOS" is probably sufficient, if you're setting a time to meet a friend then "C U @ 8" will probably do -- but if you're writing and advert on eBay or posting on a web forum, or (at the extremes) writing a scientific paper or a novel you should use a fucking spell checker and, if you need it, a dictionary.

Im gettin increasingly pist of with tryng too reed fing written by pepl who cant speel there worms or use the rong worms entirely.

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Anonymous Coward

Street names might be OK

After all, the possibilities with the (hypothetical) James Road are several

1, James' Road - road belonging to James or Mr James

2. Jame's Road - road belonging to Mr Jame

3. James Road - road going to James (a place)

could solve some issues with streetworks maintenance database.

I would put commentators down as 50% foaming at the mouth 50% misquoted

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Stop

OK

Dear Sirs,

This is exactly how Nazi Germany started!

Yours, Mr Avid DM Reader, Middle England, Stuck Up-End!

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It had to be done…

Who wouldn’t’ve forseen problem’s with the apostrophies’ use.

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Flame

bah!

Type your comment here — plain text only, no HTML

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Surely an apostrophe isn't correct on a name anyway?

There are lots of streets with no s and no apostrophe, they are obviously not possesives, so why should any street name be possesive, unless it is a private road named after the owner?

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Happy

Lighten Up

How many can read and understand Old English? Which core components of the curious patchwork that we call Modern English need protecting? Celtic? Latin? Germanic? Norse? French? English is relevant because it is adaptable, so let us not be so possessive about apostrophes.

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Stop

Prinsipel

Principle - an idea, a noun.

Principal - "of primary importance", adjective.

Simple, nez paz?

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I think it's more likely

That they just want to strip out all apostrophes from data being entered into their (probably badly written) IT systems so that someone doesn't have to bother to write any data-cleansing routines. SQL injection attacks here we come!

http://xkcd.com/327/

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Joke

Wot?

This is terrible, its no wonder that people are not speaked English gooder like what I got.

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Happy

Apostrophes are evil

Thats two councils that have noticed how they really screw up your digital data manipulation.

I wonder if either of these councils have also noticed certain words used in conjunction with apostrophes playing havoc with their systems and allowing unauthorised people to do naughty things.

We need to ban % $ % and !

Also the words do, for, each, if, while, let, get, set, select, from and or - to name but a few

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Coat

rant

im was brought up in the wakefield met area and if they spent more fucking time and money sorting out the rundown outlying areas ex-mining towns and other unloved areas it would be much improved, not that i dont love the area being a patriotric yorkshire man but this nonsense gets my back up!

rant over mines the one with the british coal logo on the back and the whippet lead in the pocket

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Joke

Spelling Logically?

She means spelling rnadmoly

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you what?

'Apostrophe Protection Society'

how sad......

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wtf?

"Apostrophe Protection Society" - do these people have nothing better to do

From the abolish the question mark society.

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Good plan

What a splendid plan by John Wells. If it wasn't for the ability to "free up" a language in this manner I couldn't call him a "fuckwit" - a word which, (in the style of Murray Walker) unless I'm very much mistaken, does not appear in the Oxford English dictionary.

John, you're a fuckwit.

And ... breathe.

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IT workers no better

It's shocking how bad spelling and grammar has become over the past few years. Here's a few samples of some of the things I see from clever people I know in IT that should know better, it makes my eyes hurt:

The use of 'rediculous' instead of 'ridiculous'.

The use of 'then' instead of 'than'

Seeing 'doesent' makes me weep.

Basic stuff like the mixed up use of 'there/their/they're', I mean how hard is it to get that right?

Other primary school basics like 'i' before 'e' except after 'c' apparently forgotten/never learned.

'wich' instead of 'which' is another howler I often see in business communications.

Don't get me wrong, I failed my 'O' level English and scraped it in 5th year (preferring to study assembly language instead of the English one at exam time) so I'm no genius when it comes to creative prose/comprehension/essays, but I bloodywell knew my grammar and spelling upon leaving primary school.

I don't know whether it's lazyness or our country is just generally getting thicker.

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Coat

But..

But.. proper names (such as places) do not necessarily follow normal punctuation rules. These names adapt and evolve independently of normal grammar. So, we have "Cambridge" and not "Cam Bridge", "Wakefield" and not "Wake Field", "Birmingham" and not "Breme inga ham".

I think the argument in Brum was about places like King's Heath.. or Kings Heath. Being an ex-Brummy, I don't think that I would use the apostrophe. In a hundred years time, it might be called Kingsheath.. except that sounds like a condom.

I'll get my coat.

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old hat

didn't ordnance survey drop the apostrophes from place names on their maps ages back? so what makes this so controversial - sounds bloody sensible to me, it's not as if they have any real meaning or clarification of meaning in that context.

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Dumbos

It takes less than five minutes to teach even the dumbest person how to use possessive apostrophes. Except in Birmingham and Wakefield apparently.

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Pardon?

Confu'sion surely?

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Yet another...

...blindingly brilliant example of sheer fscknuggetry from the powers that be. How the bloody hell do they expect people to know how to use something like a possessive apostrophe properly if they decide it is easier just to get rid of it? I'm sufficiently proud of the English language and the correct use of it that the prospect of arbitrarily changing it so as not to confuse the chav mouth breathers fills me with true loathing for the irresponsible individual or individuals that made the suggestion.

What next? Change the value of pi to 3, no more fanny arsing about with these fiddly bits after the decimal point?

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Gav
Boffin

Missing apostrophes, how about entire words?

"showing contempt for the large number of area's residents who take a pride in the English language"

That's *the* area's residents.

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Stop

Just want to say...

DO THESE FUCKWITS HAVE NOTHING BETTER TO WORRY ABOUT?

I MEAN...

GLOBAL WARMING (although I have to say I'm not overly worried about that myself)

RECESSION

8 YEAR OLD CHAVS FATHERING BABIES TO 15 YEAR OLD GIRLS

WAR

FAMINE

DISEASE

SATELLITES CRASHING IN SIBERIA (or wherever)

JACQUIE SMITH BEING ALLOWED "ANY SENIOR POST"

FUCK ME!!!! SOMEBODY FIND ME A SUPPORT GROUP QUICKLY THAT I CAN JOIN. JUST AS LONG AS IT IS NOT THE FUCKING "Apostrophe Protection Society."

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH.

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APS - Setting a Bad Example

He's not enough of a pedant to be in charge of the APS!

"Next in line was John Richards of the Apostrophe Protection Society, who said: "The council should aim its efforts to ensuring that apostrophes are used correctly, not deciding to erase them altogether. It is choosing the easy way out, dumbing down and showing contempt for the large number of area's residents who take a pride in the English language.""

Immediately, I wish to correct him.

"It is choosing the easy way out, dumbing down and showing contempt for the large number of **THE** area's residents who take a pride in the English language."

Sheesh. Though, of course, I'm sure that I've made an equally obvious error here!

Anyway. Stupid idea. Apostrophes are there for a reason. If you're going to remove the apostrophe, then remove the contraction it represents. Therefore:

"St Noddy's Road" should be renamed "Saint Noddy His Road"

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Happy

and the final word goes to Clive James...

http://books.guardian.co.uk/departments/poetry/story/0,,1473515,00.html

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Anonymous Coward

Punctuation and Communication

St. John's Terrace - The terrace of St. John.

St Johns Terrace - A terrace with several St Johns.

Why can't these fuckwits see that punctuation can totally change the meaning of a phrase or sentence?

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Alien

english is being taken over by aliens

The problem has been pointed out since about 1800, before that alternative spellings were tolerated provided the content was worthwhile. But hot air and hotter tempers did not produce a result, only agreement that an language academy or esperanto were not viable solutions.

Now that english is spoken by more aliens than aboriginals, they are naturally taking control, and ironing out the obvious lumps. Let it happen, english will be the better for it next century. If you still want to improve the standards, write a decent book.

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Joke

Why just apostrophes?

SpacesCanBeANuisanceToo.

ByDeftUseOfCapitalsThisSentenceCanBeReadQuiteEasily.

IfRolledOutNationwideThisCouldSaveHundredsOfTonsOfPaperEverySingleDay.

WontSomebodyPleaseThinkOfTheTrees?

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whingeing numpties

Place names don't need apostrophes, we're not trying to deduce meaning from them. Who cares whether it's Sheppard's Bush or Sheppards Bush, or Blackfriar's Bridge as opposed to Blackfriars Bridge?

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Unhappy

could be worse

If you think apostrophes are bad, feel sorry for the Germans, who have to bundle together streets named after people with hyphens, as in Alexander-von-Humboldt-Straße.

Looking at the new German finance minister's name, that's 15 hyphens, and a very long street sign (see yesterday's article about wikifiddlers)

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Apostrophe Grant

I'm setting up a sheltered breeding site for apostrophes, in my back garden. How do I go about getting a grant from the Apostrophe Protection Society?

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Unhappy

FFS it's not hard

I think the general attitude to our language is sympomatic of people's lack of pride in what they do.

If I look back at something that I've typed and I see a glaring typo or a badly spelled word, I reel in horror and shame. It's the same with everything I do, a principle that was hammered into me from an early age.

Most people these days don't care about their driving skills, their manners, their humility or the poor guy rolling around on the street (in agony after being mugged for their iPhone) that they just walk past.

What chance has our language?

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