Doing Away With Italics and Semicolons @Link Wanderlust


Usually, in books, non-English words are italicized but this practice is being questioned more rigorously. When the book is in English, a foreign spelling seems jarring, almost like a typo. But now more and more authors are questioning the wisdom of this font choice as it reflects monolinguistic bias and goes against the current trend of respecting diverse voices. This politics of italics changes the game for writers who are multilingual and want to use italics to emphasize certain situations rather than making italics appear as awkward interruptions to a fully English palate.

Read Bilingual Authors are Challenging the Practice of Italicizing Non-English words by Thu-Huong Ha.

If we can do away with italics, can we do away with semicolons too? That already seems to be happening as the semicolon was a very Victorian punctuation suited for the lugubrious sentences of the industrial age. Adam O’Fallon Price doesn’t buy Kurt Vonnegut’s ‘anti-semicolonism’. He cites examples of instances where the semicolon only adds to the texture and meaning of the sentence and greatly improves the character’s expression. There are no definite rules about this punctuation even though many have been prescribed. Although semicolons are absurd in this age of brevity and incessant tweeting, they still do serve a purpose if you know where to use them.

Read On Semicolons and the Rules of Writing by Adam O’Fallon Price.


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