Onomatopoeic punctuation

There is someone in our family who ends sentences with punctuation–when he speaks.

As in “How are you doing, question mark?” This is an affectation among many this person has; in this case, perhaps to be clever or maybe just for emphasis. I tried to stop questioning it long ago, but every now and then, along comes the whiplash-inducing oral punctuation.

In grade school, we learned to express punctuation with the tones of our voices. We end questions a little higher on the tonal scale. We raise our voices as we approach an exclamation point. But in and of itself, punctuation has no sound.

I suspect there are a number of readers out there who are fans of the late Victor Borge, the renowned Danish pianist, conductor and comedian. He died in 2000, so I’d encourage younger readers in whose childhood homes Borge wasn’t required viewing to take a look at his work. Pure brilliance.

I likely saw this routine at some point in my life, but it didn’t strike me quite so vividly as it did over the weekend, when my cousin–under 25, I might add, and a fellow wordie–shared it on Facebook.

Please enjoy it and think of Mr. Borge whenever you punctuate. How fun would it be if punctuation always came alive this way?


Filed under All Things Wordish, Family and Friends, Movies, Television and Radio, Music

5 responses to “Onomatopoeic punctuation

  1. Hilary

    I am tickled! Emoticons should have sounds, too, for phone conversations, so someone could hear that you were being ridiculous and sicking your tongue out at them(:-P) , and the oh-so-naive shy guy you like would know that your invitation to dinner was flirting(;-D).

  2. Polly

    I’m sending that video to school to show the kids when we start a mini-unit on punctuation. Brilliant. This routine was new to me. 🙂

  3. Sheree

    LOVED it, had never seen it before and wish all teachers would use it to motivate, inspire and capture their students’ attention.

  4. Pingback: Holiday greetings « Word Nymph

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