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Standing on Points: A Cultural History of Punctuation

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What this podcast is *not*: a rule guide on proper punctuation.

We'll only conjure the ghost of grammar in order to put it to rest.

What this podcast *is*: a journey through the weird behaviour of punctuation in the wild. Be prepared to amble on the placid path of the comma, get lost on the winding road of brackets, and arrive at the well-deserved rest of the full stop.

Along the way, we'll explore the past & future of punctuation, why a comma sparked the Russian Revolution, how to earn mill… Continue Reading >>
What this podcast is *not*: a rule guide on proper punctuation.

We'll only conjure the ghost of grammar in order to put it to rest.

What this podcast *is*: a journey through the weird behaviour of punctuation in the wild. Be prepared to amble on the placid path of the comma, get lost on the winding road of brackets, and arrive at the well-deserved rest of the full stop.

Along the way, we'll explore the past & future of punctuation, why a comma sparked the Russian Revolution, how to earn millions with a semicolon, and what your favourite mark says about you.

Mind your dots & dashes! << Show Less
Featured Audio
How to Write Boredom: A Few More Glyphs The handful of signs at our disposal nowadays (! or ? or ; or *), they need to do an enormous amount of work in terms of clarifying sentence structure and transmitting appropriate emotional intentions of the writer. What if we had more marks at hand to help us communicate more precisely quite what we mean in text that hides our faces, gestures, and tones of voice? What if we were able to encode sometimes abstract, sometimes sensuous emotions and cognitive states like yearning, pessimism, tolerance, solidarity, and seduction? Would you like to flag up your textual boredom?
Join me in a lively conversation with typographer Walter Bohatsch on "Typojis", a set of new punctuation marks doing just that: challenging us to think again, and feel differently, with and about text.
For Typojis and the book, click here: Dedicated symbols for the semantic qualities that characterize our communication | Typojis
Newest Audio
How to Write Boredom: A Few More Glyphs The handful of signs at our disposal nowadays (! or ? or ; or *), they need to do an enormous amount of work in terms of clarifying sentence structure and transmitting appropriate emotional intentions of the writer. What if we had more marks at hand to help us communicate more precisely quite what we mean in text that hides our faces, gestures, and tones of voice? What if we were able to encode sometimes abstract, sometimes sensuous emotions and cognitive states like yearning, pessimism, tolerance, solidarity, and seduction? Would you like to flag up your textual boredom?
Join me in a lively conversation with typographer Walter Bohatsch on "Typojis", a set of new punctuation marks doing just that: challenging us to think again, and feel differently, with and about text.
For Typojis and the book, click here: Dedicated symbols for the semantic qualities that characterize our communication | Typojis
All you Need is Love (and a few other Emotions): New Punctuation for Children's Stories What big teeth you have, grandma! Mirror, mirror, on the wall... Fairy tales are replete with great emotions, pleasant and not so much. Anger, joy, disgust, surprise, fear, love -- what if there were signs encoding all of them at eyesight?
Designer and typographer Thierry Fétiveau has developed eleven new punctuation marks for children's stories doing just that. His work invites us to a radical new engagement with reading and experiencing words, and testifies to punctuation's relevance today. In the age of the emoji, do we still need punctuation? We do.
Find out why by joining our conversation about design development, progressive punctuation, and the courage (and joy) to read feelingly.
For Thierry's work and punctuation marks click here: Thierry Fétiveau, design graphique et typographie - Andersen (thierryfetiveau.fr)
Holy Punctuation: A Conversation Nothing less than the salvation of your soul -- when it's about understanding the meaning of God's words, it's crucial to get it right. That's why all three "religions of the book", Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, have developed systems of punctuation in order to fix meaning and guide reading of their holy texts. In this episode, I talk to Professor Abla Hasan from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln about punctuation in the Koran, and about her wider work on language and gender relationships in Islam. Join us as we discuss the birth and transmission of the Koran, how navigating its verses is like riding a car in a busy city, and why it's not actually Eve's fault we were banished from Paradise!
Any Questions? What's the right size of a dog? Do you look forward to being a pensioner? Are you using a basket for picknicking? What did you do at bandcamp? Do you mind my asking so many questions? 
If you're looking for answers, stop listening. If you are curious about the origin of questions and the questionmark, tune in. In this episode, I'm exploring the history of the sign, how it entered writing in the Middle Ages, and what it's doing in literature, and I'm also thinking about "uptalk" - I mean uptalk?
An Admirable Point: The Screamer, the Slammer, the Dog’s Dick, the Exclamation Mark Yo!!! Join me on a journey from medieval manuscripts to text messages, comics, music, linguistics, and chess, and discover the where and why of the !!!!! Also, what's the town with the most ! in its name? Listen in and find out. Or rather 'out!'.
Saving the World One Comma at a Time: A Conversation How would you explain memes to Shakespeare? Can you be funny with climate change? And why is death too awful to gets its own line in a poem? Join me in a conversation with poet Nadia Lines about writing, the pandemic, ecology, old poets, young poets, and of course punctuation.
Find her poems here:
https://nadialines.weebly.com 
You can follow her on Twitter here: 
@NadiallLines
Beside the Point: Fate and Future of the Paragraph Digitization has rung the death knoll to many a punctuation mark, and other features of navigating the text like paragraphs and indentation. Or has it? Surprisingly, the simple act of dividing a text through blank lines into paragraphs has not always been practised, and so, its status is not at all a given in the future's exponentially growing online communication. In this episode, we think about what paragraphs and indentations are, why we have them, and why it might be smart to hang onto them just a little longer. Listen in for the history of blanks, and some nerdy typography digressions to boot!
This. And Elsewhere: The History of the Index What do fingers and books have in common? They point. To this. To elsewhere.
An index helps with that, that of the hand, and that in a book. But how did books actually come to have them? And what are they useful for?
This episode traces the development of indexes (or indices!), that under-estimated text navigation technology that's still with us today in for of Google searches.
Against Rules Of the impossibility of imposing rules on an unruly system.&nbsp;
Are you a stickler when it comes to grammar or punctuation? Then don't listen to this one.&nbsp;
Some thoughts in defence of an expansive sense of language (read, in defence of mistakes and ambiguity).
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