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A Question about Lyrical Punctuation

Creative writing by Grumps - a NaNo WriMo winner; a student of WVU (Writers' Village University) , and F2K.

Author: John Hamshare
Date: Oct 29, 2008 - 1:04:23 AM

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Punctuation question

Warning: This post contains words of a textual nature. ;-)

Whilst listening to a 'best of Boy George album', it occurred to me that the lyrics of one particular song are not a good example of a certain punctuation mark, and I am surprised it has not been referred to more widely; or, indeed, condemned by scholastic institutions.

In normal speech, of course, punctuation is understood by the flow of the sounds - the pauses - the stops - the vowel or consonant stresses - and, in face-to-face conversations, even body language and facial expressions add to the understanding.

So - why was it thought necessary to include one blatant erroneous vocal punctuation reference in only one song? Typo perhaps, misinterpreted by Boy George as part of the lyrics? If so, why was it not spotted by the music editors and recording studio technicians? Could it be an isolated instance of Victor Borge's suggested phonetic punctuation? (Viz previous punctuation post in blog, or search YouTube for 'Victor Borge.)

In written language, we frequently see occurrences of three exclamation marks for emphasis (though not technically correct by Strunk and White standards). Also, three dots, or periods, are perfectly acceptable as an ellipsis.
But, what was the reason for the extreme, and possibly unique, vocalisation of the mark in question? (No, I'm not talking about the question mark.) There is no doubt about it being there. Due to Boy George's diction, and the high quality of the recording you can hear it quite distinctly - and it occurs several times throughout the song.

Oh! Did I not mention the punctuation mark section I refer to? Sorry - it's when Boy George sings 'comma comma comma chameleon'.
It will probably remain a mystery, but please feel free to leave comm(a)ents and suggestions if you can throw any light on the matter. Please try to avoid throwing anything else.
Graduate Grumps. ;-)

View all articles by John Hamshare

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