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Encyclopedia of Language & Linguistics (Second Edition)

2006, Pages 290-291


Author links open overlay panelJ.Lawler []Get rights and content

‘Punctuation’ refers to various systems of dots (Latin punctus) and other marks that accompany letters and other glyphs as part of a writing system. Although there is a certain overlap among the various kinds of marking, punctuation proper should be distinguished from diacritic marks, which are intended as modifications of individual letters (e.g., ö ő í è ç šū ñn˚) and are often simply considered to be part of the letter they appear on, like the dot on the Latin lower case i or the ear on Vietnamese u', as well as from logographs, which are simply one-glyph representations of lexical items (e.g., @ # $ % &). Several other common glyphs, such as the slash, indicating alternation (and/or), or the asterisk *, indicating some special qualification like a footnote or ungrammaticality, are intermediate between these categories, but are not considered true punctuation. This article will consider only punctuation marks that appear separately from other written glyphs and have no lexical reference.

Alphabetic Arabic Numerals Diacritic Handwriting Letter Case Logograph Prescriptivist Printing Spelling Syntax Textual Linguistics Variation Writing System

John M Lawler is Associate Professor of Linguistics at the Universtiy of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he was director of the undergraduate linguistics program from the mid-1980s to 2001; he also teaches in the Residential College at Michigan, and at Western Washington University in Bellingham. After a B.A. in mathematics and German, an M.A. thesis on applications of computers to linguistic field methods, and several years of teaching English as a foreign language, he received his Ph.D. in 1973 under George Lakoff and Robin T Lakoff. His dissertation, Studies in English Generics, founded the modern study of the semantics of nominal reference to kinds, and of nomic and habitual verb reference. A generalist by inclination, he has published on a broad spectrum of linguistic topics, including second-language learning, lexical semantics, negation, metaphor, Unix, sound symbolism, Acehnese syntax, logic and mathematics, computational linguistics, cognitive grammar, and popular English usage.

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