Why... is there a hyphen in the middle of the title of Liam Neeson’s new movie?When I saw this I imagined it was a joke. There's a hyphen because either the scriptwriter or some publicist put it there. To quote President Bartlet, 'What's next?'
But no, the terrier-like writer had got her teeth into this non-issue (is that a nonissue?) and was intent on worrying it to death: she devoted to it another 500-600 words. Her penultimate paragraph was a gem (or maybe an antigem):
... I would make the argument that, regardless of its international pedigree, the movie should be called Nonstop. Non-Stop’s screenwriters are three Americans, one of its headliners (Julianne Moore) is American, and the film was shot primarily in New York (according to IMDb). Universal Pictures, the film’s wealthiest production company, is of course based in the States. Surely the country that pours the most money into a movie should get to determine how that movie’s title is spelled.
(Make that spe
There were two other posts that I wanted to comment on in this connexion (and I suspect this spelling may provoke an international incident; but MY house style requires it). I can't find them though, and didn't take notes. But I must get on..... Before which:
Notes from the word-faceI have the first tranche of the index (to #WVGTbook) ready to transfer to Sigil (as part of the process described here. But there is a good deal to be done before it sees the light of day. Broadly, I am using shades/colours to show half-a-dozen degrees of commonness, and I need to set up a <STYLE> for each one. This will make changing them a breeze (it says here – #readsUserGuide). I also need to link them to the rest of the text, something that I couldn't do with HoTMetaL Pro (my WYSIWYG HTML tool of choice). So don't hold your breath, but be assured that progress is being made.
Update 2014.03.10.21:20 – Typo fix. Spent passed muster a few hours ago, as it's just as annoying for some readers.
Update 2014.03.11.17:20 – Found one of those posts here
and I'll say more tomorrow.
<autobiographical_note>Update 2014.03.12.13:55 – Found the other one too, in spirit (no link):
I was reminded by Matt Damon saying the crucial word in the Monuments Men – which is why I have other things to be getting on with.
The croissant post ends
Fowler... says that it’s alright to acknowledge "indebtedness to the French language" through "some approach in some part of the word to the foreign sound." He means by this that English-speakers can allow themselves just a touch of Gaul: Belle-lett-ruh not belle-letters.
<rant theme="They just don't get it">[But I interrupted.] ...Perhaps, then, Fowler would condone kruh-san: no final T.
[NO NO NO – Fowler didn't mean just that. You say it that way because the 'r' comes immediately after the 't'. To say Belle letters would just be WRONG. 'Bell letters' are things like C and G (if bells are named after musical notes)</rant>
Although I suppose that’s an acceptable compromise, it’s one that—it must be said—doesn’t live up to New World ideals. This is America. This is a melting pot.
<rant theme="Cultural insensitivity">
[Huh. That old canard. It usually means something like 'Place where everybody coalesces into something that fits in with MY culture.' Which reminds me of the other post I meant to write about. I still can't find it. But it was the story of a Redneck complaining at a foreign language-speaker (who had been on the phone, speaking unintelligibly): 'If you want to speak Mexican, go home to Mexico.' The reply was: 'I was speaking Navajo. If you want to speak English go home to England.'</rant>
'We' accepted restaurant with open arms in the late 18th/early 19th century. We accepted croissant a century later.
[There, I've done it again] ...In this country we aim to fully integrate our immigrants instead of creating a permanent alienated class. Let’s not ghettoize pastries of French origin, let’s Americanize them. We accepted the restaurant with open arms. We should give croissants the same treatment.
Until MrsK put her foot down, I used to keep old editions of dictionaries, so that I could keep an eye on usages like hyphens in composite words (like 'non-stop') and the italicization (etc) of foreign borrowings. Misleadingly for the hen, which is brown, the word 'blackbird' started life as 'black bird' and then became 'black-bird' before becoming completely agglutinated into one word.
From memory, the 5th edition of COED dropped the italicization of 'rôle' but kept the circumflex. The circumflex was an optional variant in the 6th edition. but has now disappeared without trace. I haven't checked (but will) – and I expect to find that 'restaurant' has lost its italics but croissant hasn't yet†.
And on the subject of croissants, I think it was my late lamented mentor Joe Cremona (see this blog, passim) who attributed its invention to a Parisian patissier, in celebration of a French victory over the Ottomans. I believe some spoilsport has since disproved this story, but se non è vero, è ben trovato.It takes time for foreign borrowings to assimilate. Stick around.
Update 2014.03.12.16:55 – Added afterthought in blue.
Update 2014.03.13.15:55 – Added this note:
†The actual story is rather different. The latest edition of COED doesn't use italics to indicate the degrees of relative naturalization of the two words. It uses IPA symbols (which I wish some other dictionaries did: what does kruh-san MEAN FFS – apart, of course from 'You know, like all proper Americans say, duh!)? 'Restaurant' has /rɒnt/, fully anglicized, without a nasalized 'o', but with a t (not present, according to the article, in American English). 'Croissant' has the French vowel [ɔ̃] [
Update 2014.05.01.14:15 – Added this PS to that note (†), and updated footer:
PS I've just remembered my first introduction to the IPA in a second-year French lesson: 'ɔ with a ~' would be wrong anyway. The crucial mnemonic is sans son sang: they aren't homophones – and croissant uses the sound used in the 1st and 3rd word (not the '
Update 2014.10.10.10:35 – Added this PPS:
In further hyphen-related news, I've just found this undeveloped stub of a blogpost, started and discarded many moons ago:
My 2011 Christmas stocking contained a DVD that I imagine the donors will be aghast to learn had the damning endorsement 'laugh-out [sic] loud'. What can the copy-writer have had in mind with that hyphen? Maybe it was the typesetter (if such a person exists in the world of DVD covers) enforcing, mindlessly, a house style that said 'words that combine a verb with a preposition should be hyphenated'. Perhaps a 'laugh-out', in this hypothetical person's mind, was a bit like a blow-out, but with uncontained laughter rather than food.Update 2014.10.10.11:55 – Fix in green
That's a blow-out in the Grande Bouffe sense, of course – a feast that led to ruptured guts (like a blow-out in the motor-tyre sense) would not be funny. Well, not so as to make one laugh, out-loud or otherwise.
Update 2016.08.11.12:55 – Typo fix (and deleted outdated footer).