Thursday, January 29, 2009


Birmingham, it was announced today, is going to get rid of apostrophes on road signs. King's Walk will become (exempli gratia) Kings Walk. Given my often ridiculously over-the-top defence of my mother tongue, you might expect me to be dead against this. Well, surprisingly, I'm not.
For starters we shouldn't confuse road signs with poetry or prose. Different things don'cha know. Apostrophes do tend to complicate things on your SatNav too. I know using your mobile phone is naughty whilst driving but it is safety personified against reprogramming your Tom Tom at 60mph through town. Apostrophe's? Get rid of the little bugger's. Who need's them?
We must also remember the location of this act of grammatical vandalism. Birmingham. There is a theory that the Brummie accent is only allowed to exist because everyone else then sounds intelligent. Even Smoggies. It is apt that they are de-apostrophising in Brum. Having massacred the spoken word it is right and fitting that they now butcher the written word.
Our gain, Birminghams loss.


fiona said...

Hehe! Most amusing as always.

However, every time I pass the sign on the A167 that declares "Herb's, Perennial's, Alpine's, Heather's", it causes me real distress.

GC said...

I should say firstly that 60mph ''in town'' is a bit naughty and I can't (cant?) condone it. Although, if you're (youre?) in (on?) Teeside try 120mph - it may look scenic at that speed. Or you may be killed. Either way, it's (its?) preferable to stopping - someone may force you to eat a parmo (Parmo?)*.

Another tip; Take your Sat Nav out of its (it's???????? Help!)packaging, and out of the glovebox, before you try to reprogramme it - that's (thats?) safer.

*No chickens died to form the base of a Smoggie ''delicacy'' (Ha ha!) during the composition of this comment.

bbabs said...

I'm sure there's a Little Shagging somewhere- what do you mean road signs are not poetry or prose?

Apostrophes give meaning and refer to a time when it mattered - who are the Kings that the walk belonged to? Or which group of Kings did it belong to?

Remove the apostrophes around us and we shift steadily away from being even remotely in touch with Shakespeare's rhythmic nuance.

Anyway, what else would we English teachers be able to tut tut about?

A proposito nothing much- I remember the Collins rep once telling me that a map printing employee - I'm sure I'll be provided with the correct title- once sneaked a place called "Bollocks" somehwere deep into the Irish countryside, on the printed page. What power!