Is That an Emoticon in 1862? in NYT

Cohen, Gerald Leonard gcohen at MST.EDU
Tue Jan 20 01:59:06 UTC 2009

Hmmm. I see that in ancient Greek (the Odyssey, at least), there's a space before a semi-colon (the semi-colon there functioned as a question mark).
Any chance that the space before a semi-colon in English writing was in imitation of Greek?
Gerald Cohen


Original message from Jonathan Lighter, Mon 1/19/2009 7:14 PM:

Joel, I think if you look closely at the databases you'll see it was  very
 common in those days to leave a space before a semicolon - or a question
mark or an exclamation mark for that matter.


The American Dialect Society -

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