Curt Tales TM

Copyright © 2004 Frank G. Van Atta. All rights reserved.


The punctuation market is going crazy: commas are up, questies are hitting new highs, and periods are slumping badly and exploring new lows. "The market is, like, you know, fractious?" according to Val Singsong, market analyst for Diacritical, Inc., a Wall Street firm specializing in the grammar markets. "So I like went down on the floor? And I saw, like, uh, this usually really cool dude? And he was, you know, like freaking out? And I was like, 'What's up with that?', and he like goes, 'I don't like know? I'm losing my shirt here?' And I was like, 'Wow!'".

The recent volatility in these markets has been blamed on a national epidemic of Upspeak, the California Valley Girl phenomenon that has burst out of its home state to pollute the entire nation. "There are no declarative statements anymore," complained Mona Syntax, Professor of Linguistics at the Reah County Normal School. "Every sentence is spoken with a rising inflection so that it's almost impossible to recognize a legitimate question anymore."

Looking to share at least a little of the linguistic limelight, Congress has recommended a Constitutinal Amendment to add the "sliding question mark" to our language. The new diacritical element would be a modification of the current interrogation mark with a comma at the bottom instead of a period. This would denote a rising inflection at the end of a phrase with only a slight pause instead of the current full stop. Passage is almost certain.

In related markets, the all-lowercase trend in internet blogs and emails has driven the capital letter market into a tail spin, creating new lows almost hourly. "You can like buy capital letters?", according to Mr. Singsong, "And it, uh, won't like cost much? Because they're like no longer cool? For sure!"

Whatever . . .

Copyright © 2004 Frank G. Van Atta. All rights reserved.