Friday, October 19, 2007

The Hyphen-wars!

After years of ground-standing, the hyphen is now losing its hard-fought edge. The would-be villain is none other than international terrorist-of-the-English-language-extraordinaire: email.

Indeed, the once-peaceful lands of hyphenation have fallen to the onslaught of high-speed emailing. Leading the charge is email itself (once e-mail). Figleaf, leapfrog, potbelly, and test tube have also been reduced by that one little character that makes a difference.

This is not a threat we should take lightly. We should fight in personal correspondence, we should fight on the Internet and blogosphere, we should fight with growing confidence and growing strength in email, we should defend our language, whatever the cost may be; we should never give up, never surrender!

All joking aside, I may not be a language purist, but I am a writer still. And while language changes over time, isn’t there a difference between natural evolution and laziness?

Perhaps the hyphen is a small thing to lose, but are we going to make it okay to leave out capital letters as well (another loss in the high-speed emailing world)?

1 comment:

copy regent said...

AMA and AP style both tell us to include the hyphen with a lower case e: e-mail

It will be interesting to see how up-and-coming IMers affect the English language...g2g, brb, u r...