Tag Archives: Phonetic Punctuation

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?

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