Sunday, September 23, 2007

Email Gets Not Respect

The Email Experience Council, of which Goodmail is a platinum sponsor, petitioned an untold number of publishers not to use a hyphen in the word email. Coincidentally, the Oxford English Dictionary just dropped a lot of hyphens, as reported by the BBC (all quotes below are from the same article):
The sixth edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary has knocked the hyphens out of 16,000 words, many of them two-word compound nouns. Fig-leaf is now fig leaf, pot-belly is now pot belly, pigeon-hole has finally achieved one word status as pigeonhole and leap-frog is feeling whole again as leapfrog.
In a nicely recursive way, email is denounced as the culprit:

Geoffrey Leech, emeritus professor of linguistics and English language at Lancaster University, agrees that there has been some decline in its use. Data drawn from a wide range of publications taken in 1961 and 1991 suggested a 5% decline in hyphen usage over the three decades. He thinks e-mails may be part of the answer.

"When you are sending e-mails, and you have to type pretty fast, on the whole it's easier to type without hyphens. Ordinary people are not very conscious of the fact of whether they are putting hyphens or not."

But apparently, we still have some lobbying to do:
One battleground is the word e-mail itself. The likes of the BBC and the New York Times are fighting a valiant defence of the hyphen.