Archive for October, 2011

It seems Birmingham isn’t the only city having bother with place name apostrophes, as shown by the Londonist website’s post on Should King’s Cross Have An Apostrophe?. Unlike Birmingham City Council, however, the various London authorities haven’t reached a unanimous decision. The simple truth is that there is no ‘official’ stance on the name. Or, […]


The “As a Linguist” blog has a new post, Wait, who just died?, on the problematic pronunciation and spelling of Colonel Gaddafi’s name. I’ve been “translating” his name (from the Italian version, Gheddafi) just about every day since the Libyan uprising began (I work with another translator on the English version of the Italian Foreign Ministry’s website). So […]


How do graphic designers do it? I’m working on a new logo, for personal rather than business use. Or rather, Zoë Shuttleworth of Rude Goose is working on it, and I’m no doubt driving her round the bend with my contradictory input. This probably sounds like a vanity project but there’s a motivational reason behind […]


It seems that Italy too has got problems with spelling and punctuation, though in this case at graffiti rather than local authority level. The text in black above should read “L’orgoglio non serve”. Roughly translated, “Pride doesn’t serve any purpose”, to which an Italian Lynne Truss has responded “But apostrophes do”. This picture is from a […]


UK local authorities seem to have a fraught relationship with punctuation and spelling. Birmingham City Council decided in January 2009 to remove the possessive apostrophe from its place names — presumably the issue was too contentious to resolve otherwise. St Paul’s Square, King’s Norton and Druid’s Heath have thus become St. Pauls Square, Kings Norton and […]