[Ads-l] Apostrophes in the news

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Tue Jan 16 19:32:53 UTC 2018


In a country where almost nobody challenges the president publicly, Mr. Nazarbayev has found his policy on apostrophes assailed from all sides.

Linguists, who had recommended that the new writing system follow the example of Turkish, which uses umlauts and other phonetic markers instead of apostrophes, protested that the president’s approach would be ugly and imprecise.

Others complained the use of apostrophes will make it impossible to do Google searches for many Kazakh words or to create hashtags on Twitter.

“We are supposed to be modernizing the language but are cutting ourselves from the internet,” Mr. Sarym said.

Amid a storm of mockery and protest on social media, a Kazakh film director, Saken Zholdas, produced a music video ridiculing the president’s apostrophe-laden approach as a recipe for turning written Kazakh into an unsightly and unreadable gobbledygook.

And for those eager to watch one of the best music videos ever devoted to apostrophes, you can find it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FX_lbp6hr0Q

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

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