Friday, 3 June 2016

3rd June 2016 - Home Alone Diaries Day 3

Thought for the day:" I didn't trip .. The floor looked sad so I gave it a hug "

Cleaned the ducks this morning. Two things strike me - 1) how quickly ducks grow as opposed to Chickens and 2) how messy they are ...  Water everywhere!!  and duck poo ...  I ma filling the water barrel twice a day at the moment as opposed to once a week for the Chickens - even in the current unseasonable June warmth ...

But Ducks and Chickens sorted - half a cabbage for the chickens hung on a post...  Dog fed ... somehow managed not to get any food in for myself...   so a cup of tea and will have to pop out a little later to get something in ....

Have to do a little paperwork today - been putting it off again ...  But one should never procrastinate today when you can put it off until tomorrow...   

Meanwhile - another podcast - or ratehr another edit of the same podcast with more information about the game system from last weekend and a mention for the Bard...  quite pleased with this one as well
Forest argent and Vollsanger

Meanwhile....   back to the Oxford Comma...

Is that a tall, dark, and handsome man standing over there? Or a tall, dark and handsome man? The vexed question of commas, where to use them and where not to, was raised at Hay festival by the linguistics academic David Crystal.

Both of the above are correct, he said, but he criticised the Department for Education for not realising that, and for allowing exam boards to wrongly penalise children. He said the current guidance for schools “leaves a huge amount to be desired, especially in areas of punctuation.

“There is a tendency in the question setters of linguistic naivety; they are simply not aware of the complexity of some of the decisions they are asking the kids to make.”

The comma and where to use it is a case in point. The debate over whether to put a comma before the “and” in a list has been around since the 18th century, Crystal said. In the 19th century “publishing houses decided they were going to sort it out and … made different decisions”.

Oxford University Press decided it should be in, and in such cases it is now called the Oxford comma or serial comma. They reasoned that each adjective before the noun was of equal importance, so should all have a comma. Cambridge University Press, however, decided it should be left out. This raises fierce debates, Crystal said, but both examples of usage were correct.

He said the Oxford comma had been banned in the latest guidance to teachers, so any child writing “tall, dark, and handsome” had to be marked incorrect. That meant Oxford comma fans (Crystal counted himself as one) were now using the wrong punctuation.

Crystal, honorary professor of linguistics at University of Wales, Bangor, was giving a talk about his latest book Making a Point: The Pernickety Story of English Punctuation. He admitted he rarely gets worked up about the things which infuriate lots of people – even the multiple use of exclamation marks!!!

He is professionally interested in the changing use of punctuation, including how full stops are not used anywhere near as many times as they were in the 19th century.

What really irritates him, he told the Hay audience, was what he called Radio 3 syndrome, when after a piece of music the presenter drops his or her voice at the end of a sentence. “That was Symphony No 3 in D major by [inaudible]. What?”

Or perhaps that should be: “What!”

Pollen Count rotten today - sitting here sneezing and wheezing...  Off to Aberaeron this afternoon so will have to wait for a medicinal dram until my return...

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