Comments on "On the hyphen" - Faerye Net 2005-02-28T15:46:38+00:00 Re: E-mail, email? 2005-02-28T15:46:38+00:00 2005-02-28T15:46:38+00:00 <p>Oh, I applaud non-standardized spelling when it is non-standardized A-PURPOSE; when it represents thought, choice, and fine consideration. When things are misspelled they are misspelled.<br /> <br /> I like some British spellings better than American; for example, &#8216;artefact&#8217; looks more like it should, being the ablative of &#8216;skill or art&#8217; plus the beginning of the preterite for &#8216;to make&#8217;&#8212;&#8216;artefact&#8217; is clearly &#8216;made by means of craft&#8217;, whereas &#8216;artifact&#8217; is just a word&#8230;and I use &#8216;artifact&#8217; for the evolved meaning of &#8216;something left in by mistake&#8217; et cetera, because in that case it is NOT made by art.<br /> <br /> You get the picture. I do not insist on linguistic &#8216;purity&#8217;&#8212;I insist on educated and mindful use of language, if not creative use.</p> felicity Re: E-mail, email? 2005-02-28T12:28:21+00:00 2005-02-28T12:28:21+00:00 <p>At the same time it cannot be denied that the more similar words we have in our culture, the more puns we can appropriately wring out of our language.<br /> <br /> And bah. Isn&#8217;t this very site insiteful of the vulgarities of standardized spellings? Sure, the whole &#8220;teh haxors roxors&#8221; movement is a pointless exercise in self-humiliation, but I&#8217;d like to think we can accept alternative spellings gracefully, as this will allow for the greater evolution of our language. <br /> <br /> Which is to say, damn the French.</p> EMeta Re: E-mail, email? 2005-02-18T14:25:59+00:00 2005-02-18T14:25:59+00:00 <p>Well, &#8220;prettier&#8221; is, of course, partially a subjective opinion. I think banana slugs are prettier than warthogs&#8212;no one has to agree with me!<br /> <br /> However, when forced to consider the question more deeply, I think it is partially that &#8216;e-mail&#8217; better represents the pronunciation, as I touched on above. The hyphen clearly sets apart the e, so that it is pronounced as a letter, not a part of the word. The trendy Apple method of setting apart a prefix letter seems to work, too - I&#8217;ve never heard anyone mispronounce &#8216;iMac&#8217; &#8216;ih-mack&#8217; - but it only works with brand names, et cetera, because it requires capitalization. Also, it plays merry hell with the capitalization at the beginning of sentences.<br /> <br /> Hyphenating &#8216;e-mail&#8217; not only makes the &#8216;e&#8217; appear to the eye as a letter and as a separate concept modifying &#8216;mail&#8217;, it also gives it a certain importance which is appropriate to its proper pronunciation&#8212;the &#8216;e&#8217; receives the emphasis.<br /> <br /> My but aren&#8217;t I longwinded*?<br /> <br /> *Or &#8216;long-winded&#8217;. Whichever you please, both are correct.</p> felicity Re: E-mail, email? 2005-02-18T11:04:30+00:00 2005-02-18T11:04:30+00:00 <p>And what, pray tell, does this other word mean?</p> grizelda Re: E-mail, email? 2005-02-18T10:58:45+00:00 2005-02-18T10:58:45+00:00 <p> I prefer &#8220;email&#8221;, but according to Google, &#8220;e-mail&#8221; is more widely used: </p> <dl> <dt><a href="">email</a></dt> <dd>507,000,000 results</dd> <dt><a href="">e-mail</a></dt> <dd>760,000,000 results</dd> </dl> wonko Re: E-mail, email? 2005-02-18T10:27:34+00:00 2005-02-18T10:27:34+00:00 <p>&#8220;Prettier?&#8221; You&#8217;ll have to explain that one more fully. The fact that email is easier to type would make it better for me. However, I have just consulted the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, and while it does not address the question directly, it lists it as &#8220;e-mail&#8221; in a couple of index entries. So consider me reformed: I will type e-mail from now on. Especially since there is another English word email! Contextually, it would be hard to confuse the two, but whatever.</p> sister sledge Re: E-mail, email? 2005-02-18T10:11:09+00:00 2005-02-18T10:11:09+00:00 <p>An appeal to <a href="">authority</a> (scroll to the bottom of the page).<br /> <br /> Knuth&#8217;s basic argument is, as Felicity mentioned, that the term is old enough to shed its hyphen. <br /> <br /> I have no aesthetic problem with &#8220;email&#8221;, and it is easier to type, so I tend to side with Knuth on the matter.</p> Mithrandir Re: E-mail, email? 2005-02-18T09:24:01+00:00 2005-02-18T09:24:01+00:00 <p>Well, as I may have implied, or may have been too careless to imply, the question of hyphenation versus simple compounding is a hairy one. Some sources might see hyphenation as a way of putting a &#8216;new product!&#8217; sticker on a compound word&#8230;assuring that people realize the word is new, formed of two constituent words or meanings, and think about what it means. Should the coupling prove fruitful, the words may eventually settle into a companionable closeness unmarred by any punctuation. In the case of e-mail, doubtless many people think the word has been around long enough to merit the lazy, convenient elision.<br /> <br /> It is my own opinion that &#8216;email&#8217; is, well, ugly, and &#8216;e-mail&#8217; both prettier and more representative of the manner in which the word is pronounced. (C&#8217;mon, if you didn&#8217;t know what &#8216;email&#8217; was, wouldn&#8217;t you say &#8216;EH-male&#8217;?) And it is precisely the fact that the English-speaking world is full of exceptions, confusion, and people with opinions that is the problem&#8230;.</p> felicity E-mail, email? 2005-02-18T09:15:41+00:00 2005-02-18T09:15:41+00:00 <p>I was just sending you an electronic correspondence, when this question arrose: the word email used to be hyphenated, but no longer seems to be. Is this just laziness/ignorance on the part of typists and spellcheckers? Alternatively, are the grammatical rules regarding hyphenation being skewed in such a way that language, in its never stable nature, is changing?</p> grizelda Re: To hyphen or not to hyphen... 2005-02-18T09:10:52+00:00 2005-02-18T09:10:52+00:00 <p>Heh! English, a language standardized by questing etymologists rather than practical grammarians&#8230; If you think your example is silly, consider the fact that &#8216;alright&#8217; is not properly a word in English! Despite &#8216;all ready&#8217; having become &#8216;already&#8217; at least a century ago, &#8216;all right&#8217; is still the proper form, not &#8216;alright&#8217;&#8212;though the latter is slowly gaining ground towards propriety, due to such distinctions as being used by James Joyce!</p> felicity Re: Wikipedia to the rescue 2005-02-18T09:08:36+00:00 2005-02-18T09:08:36+00:00 <p>Very informative&#8212;though I don&#8217;t entirely agree with some of their examples. &#8216;light-blue paint&#8217; INDEED!</p> felicity To hyphen or not to hyphen... 2005-02-17T17:31:30+00:00 2005-02-17T17:31:30+00:00 <p>There is indeed something to be said about consistency in the English language. Just flip open Webster&#8217;s Unabridged and look up electron-neutrino, electron volt, and electron tube. I rest my case.</p> GreyStork Wikipedia to the rescue 2005-02-17T17:10:13+00:00 2005-02-17T17:10:13+00:00 <p>As usual, Wikipedia has <a href="">helpful advice</a> on hyphen usage. The Economist Style Guide has some <a href="">useful guidelines</a> too.</p> wonko