A 1648 "smiley face"

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Tue Apr 15 15:01:47 UTC 2014

On Tue, Apr 15, 2014 at 10:16 AM, Joel S. Berson wrote:
> So I wonder whether placing "pausing" punctuation -- comma in the
> Hawthorne example, colon in Herrick -- before a closing parenthesis
> was simply a common style in the former days of profuse punctuation
> marks.

I asked Benjamin Schmidt, a digital humanities scholar and topnotch
corpus-wrangler, if it would be possible to find other examples of a
colon followed by a closing parenthesis in a historical corpus that
tokenizes punctuation. He did a quick check on pre-1700 books on the
Internet Archive and found that most results were OCR errors, but
plenty were just ordinary punctuation. A few examples:



Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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