He/She interrobanged

As a result of reading Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss and watching season 5 of Dexter, I find this passage of text rather entertaining:

"Yes, you can see the bullet points here, here and here, sir; there are multiple back-slashes, of course. And that's a forward slash. I would have to call this a frenzied attack. Did anyone hear the interrobang?"

"Oh yes. Woman next door was temporarily deafened by it. What's this?"

"Ah. You don't see many of these any more. It's an emoticon. Hold your head this way and it appears to be winking."

"Good God! You mean - ?"

"That's the mouth."

"You mean - ?"

"That's the nose."

"Good grief. Then it's - ?"

"Oh yes, sir. There's no doubt about it, sir. The Punctuation Murderer has struck again."

Truss, Eats, Shoots & Leaves, 197.

Perhaps this is what the scene looked like when it was discovered:

Do I hear you wondering what an 'interrobang' is? Well I hear myself wondering...

This is an interrobang: ‽  Let's have a close up:

Truss says it was invented in 1962. It tried to infiltrate the system disguised as a question mark on top of an exclamation, to be used in such cases as "Where did you get that hat?!" or "...hat‽" Apparently it has not been very successful at infiltrating so far.

It is also known as an 'interabang' or 'quesclamation mark'.

The origins of the exclamation mark and question mark are quite clear:
! - to exclaim, he/she exclaimed
? - to question, he/she questioned

but what of:
‽ - to interrobang, he/she interrobanged (or he/she interrobung / interrobunged), or to quesclaim, he/she quesclaimed.

What do you think of the interrobang?

(In case you are wondering about the relevance of this book, aside from always-wanting-to-read-it-but-never-getting-the-chance, I read it as a refresher of punctuation and grammar while I was writing my dissertation. It was quite handy.)

I am just waiting for someone to throw a percontation point or ironicon at me.


FJE said...

I think the Interrobang is one of those pointless things people come up with to solve a problem thaht doesn't need solving. An '!?' isn't hard to understand, nor time consuming or space wasting - it's not a particularly common occurance. I think the use of both marks also works because, to my mind at least, there is some kind of seperation the tones being evoked (the text is both questioning, and exclaiming, but these are seperate from each other, not bound together in a single feeling of expression).

But that was more comment than the interrobang deserved!

FJE said...

"An ongoing search for a universal symbol to denote irony (the reverse question mark being among the oldest suggestions) has always faltered, partly because it's not really irony unless someone somewhere doesn't get it." - Tim Dowling, The Guardian

L said...

This is excellent :)
I very much enjoyed reading it and I shall throw an emoticon at you to prove it.

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