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The Rise and Pall of the Semicolon: English Punctuation Theory and English Teaching Practice
Article from Journal - ilmiah internasional
Applied Linguistics (Full Text) vol. 16 no. 1 (Mar. 1995)
Vol 16, 1, p 1-14.pdf
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Descriptions of English punctuation in modern instruction manuals offer elaborate descriptions of the properties of each mark in the system, but rarely note their relative frequency. As a result, analysts tend to overstate the role of intermediate marks. In response, this study reviews the four hundred year evolution of semicolon use in one genre of English. It presents evidence that after flourishing in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the semicolon may have become a marginal component of the English punctuation system. In order for this evolution to be reflected in teaching practice, both writers and instructors need to rely not on conventionalized theories but on descriptions of punctuation practice in naturally-occurring texts.
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