Standing on Points: A Cultural History of Punctuation podcast

Standing on Points: A Cultural History of Punctuation

Florence Hazrat

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!

16 episodios

  • Standing on Points: A Cultural History of Punctuation podcast

    All you Need is Love (and a few other Emotions): New Punctuation for Children's Stories

    35:59

    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)
  • Standing on Points: A Cultural History of Punctuation podcast

    Holy Punctuation: A Conversation

    55:54

    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!
  • Standing on Points: A Cultural History of Punctuation podcast

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  • Standing on Points: A Cultural History of Punctuation podcast

    Any Questions?

    53:44

    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? 
  • Standing on Points: A Cultural History of Punctuation podcast

    An Admirable Point: The Screamer, the Slammer, the Dog’s Dick, the Exclamation Mark

    52:31

    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!'.
  • Standing on Points: A Cultural History of Punctuation podcast

    Saving the World One Comma at a Time: A Conversation

    49:21

    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
  • Standing on Points: A Cultural History of Punctuation podcast

    Beside the Point: Fate and Future of the Paragraph

    1:21:41

    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!
  • Standing on Points: A Cultural History of Punctuation podcast

    This. And Elsewhere: The History of the Index

    1:12:46

    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. 
  • Standing on Points: A Cultural History of Punctuation podcast

    Against Rules

    43:36

    Of the impossibility of imposing rules on an unruly system.  Are you a stickler when it comes to grammar or punctuation? Then don't listen to this one.  Some thoughts in defence of an expansive sense of language (read, in defence of mistakes and ambiguity).
  • Standing on Points: A Cultural History of Punctuation podcast

    Part 2 of Part 2 of the History of Punctuation

    52:04

    I continue the long second part of the history of punctuation, exploring mini-biographies of the parenthesis, ellipses (DOT DOT DOT), and quotation marks. From the Renaissance, I also rush through to the present day, touching on digital punctuation. But that's for another episode!
  • Standing on Points: A Cultural History of Punctuation podcast

    Part 1 of Part 2 of the History of Punctuation: Late Medieval to Early Modern

    45:49

    Apostrophe, semi-colon, comma, parentheses, ellipses, quotation marks -- six marks and counting within 200 years. How come there is an explosion of punctuation marks in between 1400 and 1600? What were the intellectual and technological factors accounting for such a boom?  This is part 1 of part 2 of the history of punctuation -- I realized part is a long history, so there are two parts of part 2!

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