N – Save the semicolon?

France is debating the future of the semicolon, according to a Guardian blog. The “point virgule,” the writer François Cavanna is reported as saying, is “a parasite, a timid, fainthearted, insipid thing, denoting merely uncertainty, a lack of audacity, a fuzziness of thought.” But defendants cite Hugo, Flaubert, and Voltaire as writers for whom the mark was essential. Writers such as George Orwell, Lynne Truss, and Will Self give their views. Meanwhile, in New York the sign “Please put it in a trash can, that’s good news for everyone” has been revised to include a semicolon, but the Financial Times reports that “Americans see the semicolon as punctuation’s axis of evil.” (www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/04/france.britishidentity and http://normblog.typepad.com/normblog/2008/03/the-semicolon-a.html and www.ft.com/cms/s/0/0ca549d2-25a9-11da-a4a7-00000e2511c8.html)
Thanks to Margaret Cooter