Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Period,Space,Please!

The Internet brings to light quirks of typing which might otherwise escape our notice.In particular,I've noticed that some individuals are in the habit of not leaving a space after the period when they type.It looks rather odd.I notice these same individuals often don't leave a space after the comma,either.

Most people type period,space.Once in a while you'll notice someone who types two spaces after a period.Either way,it looks literate.It looks as though they were paying attention in English class.Whereas to be frank,no space after the period looks borderline illiterate.Have they honestly never noticed?Can it be that they've been typing this way for years,or even decades,and never noticed how period without a space sticks out like a sore thumb?

Period without a space following doesn't even look cool or trendy,like other typographical variants such as all small letters,or 1337 5p34k,or CamelCaps,or nonstandard punctuation such as the interrobang.Period without a space simply looks clunky.Annoying.Like the kind of person who writes definately for definitely,or choldren for children,or formally known as for formerly known as,or midas well for might as well.

11 Comments:

Blogger The Tetrast said...

I haven't seen that. Where have you seen that?

The ancient Romans wrote without spaces and without punctuation.

In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas
corpora. Di! Coeptis nam vos mutastis et illas
adspirate meis primaque ab origine mundi
ad mea perpetuum deducite tempora carmen.

appeared as

INNOVAFERTANIMVSMVTATASDICEREFORMAS
CORPORADICOEPTISNAMVOSMVTASTISETILLAS
ADSPIRATEMEISPRIMAQVEABORIGINEMVNDI
ADMEAPERPETVVMDEDVCITETEMPORACARMEN

Wednesday, March 28, 2007 3:18:00 PM  
Blogger Paul Burgess said...

Well, somehow that works in Latin. Maybe because Latin is cool. ;-) But in English the lack of a space after punctuation— especially with spaces between words— is just jarring.

I mean, it looks like people who type this way in English honestly don't know what they're doing. As indeed (if intuition is any guide) I suspect many of them do not. It really does give the impression of something done artlessly and without guile, perhaps even without conscious awareness. There are ünüsüäl wäÿs öf wrïtïng which give the impression of artifice, but punctuation-without-space-following is not one of them.

Analogy: when I see the possessive "your" written as "ur," as in "give me ur pencil," I suspect it's written that way deliberately, or at least by force of a habit which was originally contracted knowingly. Whereas when I see "your" written "you," as in "give me you pencil," I suspect it's written that way unknowingly and almost subliminally.

As for where I've seen such spacelessness, let's say it turns up every once in a while in the blogosphere or on other discussion forums. And I've noticed the same individuals on a forum doing it consistently over a stretch of time: for them it's not just a fleeting lapse or momentary lark, it's evidently their habitual mode of typing.

I've seen it often enough that I'm convinced it's not a fluke, but rather the consistent typing style of a very small minority of commenters out there. I could provide names and links by way of example, but I don't want to single them out or embarrass them.

This leaves the question, how could one google for examples of such writing? I've tried, but Google seems to draw no distinction between different varieties of "white space" between words.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007 5:07:00 PM  
Blogger The Tetrast said...

I didn't mean to defend spaceless writing. I was just saying that the situation used to be worse. It's hard to think of reading task more discourging and dispiriting at first sight than hundreds of pages of spaceless all-caps Latin!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007 11:22:00 PM  
Blogger Paul Burgess said...

Well, I do wonder how they could read things that way. But at the same time on some level it must've worked for them. I wonder if they weren't relying on certain cues in the structure of written Latin that aren't immediately obvious to us. For instance, I'm reminded of the discovery that one can read English quite well as long as the first and last letters in a word stay where they are— all the letters in the middle of a word can be scrambled any which way.

Or think of Hebrew, written consonants only with (more or less) no vowels indicated. Sounds hard to read, though take a passage in English and strip the vowels out, nd rdng t rlly sn't s hrd s y mght thnk t frst.

Or think of those ancient languages which were written boustrophedon, one line going left to right, the next line going right to left, and so on. Often with individual letters reversed mirror-image from one line to the next!

Or I've sometimes wondered what it would be like to read and write Chinese, with an indefinitely large number of written characters built up out of the 214 radicals.

Or then there's Sequoyah's written syllabary for Cherokee, where the 80-some syllabic signs yield a system which is easier to learn and read than English. If you know Cherokee, that is.

There are some strange things out there in the world of written languages.

Thursday, March 29, 2007 8:38:00 AM  
Blogger Paul Burgess said...

ᎦᏚ ᎠᏄᏬᏍᏗ ᎠᎴ ᏓᎪᏍᎬ
ᎠᏰᎵ ᏚᎾᏙᏢᏒ ᎠᎴ ᎦᏚ ᎠᏄᏬᏍᏗ ᎤᏬᎳᏨ ᎾᎥᎢ ᎯᎠ ᎠᏫᏒᏗ ᎧᏃᎮᎭ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎤᏙᏢᏒ, ᎠᎴ ᎾᏓᏛᏁᎲ 250,000 ᏂᎬᎾᏛ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎤᏬᎳᏨ ᏣᎳᎩ, ᎤᎭ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎭᏫᎾᏗᏢ Tahlequah, ᎣᎦᎳᎰᎻ (ᎯᎠ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎤᏙᏢᏒ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏫᏒᏗ Keetoowah ᏗᏂᏤᎷᎯᏍᎩ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ) ᎠᎴ ᎾᎾᎢ ᏣᎳᎩ, ᎤᏴᏢ Carolina (ᎧᎸᎬᎢᏗᏢ ᏗᏂᏤᎷᎯᏍᎩ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ). ᎤᏔᏂᏗ ᎦᏙᎯ-ᎤᏬᎳᏨ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏂᎳᏍᏓᎸ ᎤᎭ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎭᏫᎾᏗᏢ Georgia, Missouri ᎠᎴ Alabama. ᏐᎢ ᎡᏆ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏍᏗ ᎬᏙᏗ-ᎤᏬᎳᏨ ᏣᎳᎩ ᏧᎾᏙᏢᎯ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏂᎷᏨ ᎭᏫᎾᏗᏢ ᏲᏩᏁᎬ, Missouri, ᏖᎾᏏ, ᎠᎴ ᏐᎢ ᎦᎷᎯᏍᏗ ᎭᏫᎾᏗᏢ ᎯᎠ ᎠᏫᏒᏗ ᎧᏃᎮᎭ.ᎠᏰᎵ ᏚᎾᏙᏢᏒ ᎠᎴ ᎦᏚ ᎠᏄᏬᏍᏗ ᎤᏬᎳᏨ ᎾᎥᎢ ᎯᎠ ᎠᏫᏒᏗ ᎧᏃᎮᎭ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎤᏙᏢᏒ, ᎠᎴ ᎾᏓᏛᏁᎲ 250,000 ᏂᎬᎾᏛ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎤᏬᎳᏨ ᏣᎳᎩ, ᎤᎭ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎭᏫᎾᏗᏢ Tahlequah, ᎣᎦᎳᎰᎻ (ᎯᎠ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎤᏙᏢᏒ ᎠᎴ ᎠᏫᏒᏗ Keetoowah ᏗᏂᏤᎷᎯᏍᎩ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ) ᎠᎴ ᎾᎾᎢ ᏣᎳᎩ, ᎤᏴᏢ Carolina (ᎧᎸᎬᎢᏗᏢ ᏗᏂᏤᎷᎯᏍᎩ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏂᏴᏫ). ᎤᏔᏂᏗ ᎦᏙᎯ-ᎤᏬᎳᏨ ᏣᎳᎩ ᎠᏂᎳᏍᏓᎸ ᎤᎭ ᎠᏰᎵ ᎭᏫᎾᏗᏢ Georgia, Missouri ᎠᎴ Alabama. ᏐᎢ ᎡᏆ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏍᏗ ᎬᏙᏗ-ᎤᏬᎳᏨ ᏣᎳᎩ ᏧᎾᏙᏢᎯ ᎠᎴ ᎤᏂᎷᏨ ᎭᏫᎾᏗᏢ ᏲᏩᏁᎬ, Missouri, ᏖᎾᏏ, ᎠᎴ ᏐᎢ ᎦᎷᎯᏍᏗ ᎭᏫᎾᏗᏢ ᎯᎠ ᎠᏫᏒᏗ ᎧᏃᎮᎭ.

Thursday, March 29, 2007 8:43:00 AM  
Blogger The Tetrast said...

Back in the old days, people didn't read silently and quickly, they read slowly, aloud. It is claimed that Aquinas was the first known silent reader. All in all, spaceless Latin would be less daunting to an ancient Roman than to me! Looking at spaceless Latin would have been no worse for them than looking at spaceless English would be for us. But for folks like me who don't know Latin fluently, it's like, whoah, what a task! Latin poetry's syntax is already capable of such weird twists and turns coming to eerie half-light via clues in agreements in gender, number, etc. but one has to know all five declensions in three genders, and four conjugations, and whatnot. Sometimes one needs to know whether a certain vowel is long or short in order to know the meaning or the noun's case, so one uses the poems' metric rules combined with knowledge about which vowels already must be short or long. All in all, I really like seeing the spaces between the words, it's a bit of a headstart when one knows where one word ends and another begins. After all, "in nova" might at first seem the imperative "innova" ("innovate") -- the completion ("copora") of the prepositional phrase doesn't come till the next line. (Hearing a poet recite it would make it clearly "in nova" because the "-a" would be heard as short and there's no short -a verb ending and no noun "innova" or "innovum.")

In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas
corpora

Those Cherokee characters aren't even in Titus Cyberbit Basic! I guess I'll have to find that Cherokee font. I have it on my old computer. Yeah, I knew about it!

Thursday, March 29, 2007 5:52:00 PM  
Blogger The Tetrast said...

I downloaded the Cherokee font, but it did nothing on screen. When I copied into rtf and formatted into Cherokee, only some of the characters appeared. I don't know which font you intended (and I looked at the formatting). What font does one need?

Thursday, March 29, 2007 8:07:00 PM  
Blogger Paul Burgess said...

Good question. I'm trying to remember, there are several Cherokee fonts available out there for free, and I took one of them and installed them on my system, and ever since I've been able to see Cherokee on my screen just fine.

Now I'm searching on my system, in either of the two places where most of my fonts are stored under Linux, and I can't find the installed Cherokee font. It probably has some utterly nonobvious filename. And in the Opera Browser under International Fonts | Writing System | Cherokee, it's simply set to "Automatic."

Will let you know if I'm able to track it down.

Thursday, March 29, 2007 11:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Jay said...

It's been a while, but once or twice in the past I've posted about the annoying practice people have of putting only a single space after a period. The standard is period space space.

To leave no space at all is therefore cretinous. Silly illiterate people.

Friday, March 30, 2007 9:30:00 AM  
Blogger Paul Burgess said...

LOL! But what about those who use three spaces after a period? :-)

Somehow by mental connect-a-dot this reminds me of the old Monty Python routine about the Egyptian archaeologists...

Interviewer: Hello. On 'Archaeology Today' tonight I have with me Professor Lucien Kastner of Oslo University.

Kastner: Good evening.

Interviewer: How many spaces do you use after a period, professor?

Kastner: ... I beg your pardon?

Interviewer: How many spaces do you use after a period?

Kastner: Oh, two, sometimes three.

Interviewer: ... and an expert in Egyptian tomb paintings. Sir Robert... (turning to Kastner) do you really use only two or three spaces after a period?

Kastner: Yes.

Interviewer: Funny, your writing looks like it has much less white space than that to me. Are you slumped forward in your chair at all?

Kastner: No, er I...

Interviewer: Extraordinary. Sir Robert Eversley, who's just returned from the excavations in El Ara, and you must use six spaces after a period. Isn't that right, Sir Robert?

Sir Robert: (puzzled) Yes.

Interviewer: In fact, I think you sometimes use seven spaces after a period don't you?

Sir Robert: Yes.

Applause from off. Sir Robert looks up in amazement.

Interviewer: Oh, that's marvelous. I mean you're a totally different kind of specimen to Professor Kastner. Straight in your seat, erect, firm.

Sir Robert: Yes. I thought we were here to discuss archaeology.

Interviewer: Yes, yes, of course we are, yes, absolutely, you're absolutely right! That's positive thinking for you. (to Kastner) You wouldn't have said a thing like that, would you? You two or three space after a period using weed. (he turns his back very ostentatiously on Kastner) Sir Robert Eversley, who's very interesting, what have you discovered in the excavations at El Ara?

Sir Robert: (picking up a beautiful ancient vase) Well basically we have found a complex of tombs...

Interviewer: Very good speaking voice.

Sir Robert: ... which present dramatic evidence of Polynesian influence in Egypt in the third dynasty which is quite remarkable.

Interviewer: How many spaces did the Polynesians use after a period?

Kastner: They used...

Interviewer: Sh!

Sir Robert: Well, they were rather illiterate, seafaring...

Interviewer: Illiterate men, were they... eh? Maybe no space after a period at all?

Sir Robert: Well, I really don't know about that...

Interviewer: Who were the people who used lots of spaces after a period?

Sir Robert: I'm afraid I don't know.

Interviewer: Who's that very literate tribe in Africa?

Sir Robert: Well, this is hardly archaeology.

Interviewer: The Watutsi! That's it - the Watutsi! Oh, that's the tribe, some of them used eight spaces after a period. Can you imagine that. Eight spaces after a period Watutsi. That's what I call literate.

Sir Robert: Yes, but it's nothing to do with archaeology.

Interviewer: (knocking Sir Robert's vase to the floor) Oh to hell with archaeology!

Kastner: Can I please speak! I came all the way from Oslo to do this program! I'm a professor of archaeology. I'm an expert in ancient civilizations. All right, I only use two or three spaces after a period. All right my posture is bad, all right I slump in my chair. But I've had more women than either of you two! I've had half bloody Norway, that's what I've had! So you can keep your Robert Eversley! And you can keep your bloody eight spaces after a period Watutsi! I'd rather have my little two or three spaces... my little two or three spaces after a period... (he breaks down sobbing)

Sir Robert: Bloody fool. Look what you've done to him.

Interviewer: Don't bloody fool me.

Sir Robert: I'll do what I like, because I use six spaces after a period and I eat punks like you for breakfast.

Sir Robert floors the interviewer with a mighty punch. Interviewer looks up rubbing his jaw.

Interviewer: I'll get you for that, Eversley! I'll get you if I have to travel to the four corners of the earth!

Saturday, March 31, 2007 8:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Robin S. said...

I don't bring this up to justify the practice, but I have to wonder if the practice doesn't arise, at least in part, from the prevalence of text messaging on phones. In those messages, space is at a premium (and it's much slower to type on a 12-key keypad than a 101-key keyboard, besides), so little habits like that arise to save space (and time).

Sunday, April 01, 2007 7:42:00 AM  

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