tortipede (tortipede) wrote in linguaphiles,

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Egregious 'smart' quotes and English pronouns

OK, I know the community name says "linguaphiles" and not "apostrophilia", and I know that this is more typesetting than actually linguistic, but doesn't it annoy you when you want to put a leading apostrophe on a word (to indicate apheresis, or to show alif rather than ghain, or something), and the default settings of the computer you're working at automatically turn it into an opening single inverted comma? But of course, knowing what you mean and want to write, you go back and correct it, don't you? Right.

Not the publishers and distributors of posters for the film Shoot 'Em Up here in the UK, though.

Incidentally, I remember it being suggested once, in a History of the (English) Language class, that the form 'em might be dropping the 'h' from Old English him, heom, etc. ("them") rather than Old Norse þeim -- does anyone know if there is any evidence of third person plural pronouns with initial 'h' surviving beyond the Middle English period? And -- less probably and more speculatively -- I was wondering if dialect usage of [ən] for 'him' might go back to the Old English accusative hine rather than the dative him. Any thoughts?

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