Saturday, January 18, 2014

Apostrophe catastrophe as Cambridge City Council bans punctuation from new street names

Apostrophe catastrophe as Cambridge City Council bans punctuation from new street names | Cambridge City News, Cambridge Local News Stories & Latest Headlines

Written byCHRIS HAVERGAL
16/01/14 Scene Setter Scholars Walk Chesterton16/01/14 Scene Setter Scholars Walk Chesterton . Picture: David Johnson16/01/14 Scene Setter Scholars Walk Chesterton16/01/14 Scene Setter Scholars Walk Chesterton . Picture: David Johnson
Grammar gurus have given council chiefs a caning for banning apostrophes from Cambridge street names – amid fears they would be too confusing.
Guildhall bosses’ decision to outlaw all punctuation from new road names has been branded “deplorable” and condemned as “pandering to the lowest denominator”, especially in a city renowned for learning.
Officers said they were following national guidance which warned apostrophes could lead to mistakes, particularly for emergency services.
The city council’s street naming policy says a road called St Paul’s Court would appear in all documentation and nameplates as “St Pauls Court”.
But Kathy Salaman, director of the Longstanton-based Good Grammar Company, said it was a “dreadful” idea.
She said: “I know some people think apostrophes are superfluous but we really need them and I think it’s the first step on a slippery slope.
“If councils are getting rid of them, what kind of message does that give out to students at schools?
“Dropping apostrophes is pandering to the lowest denominator and while eradicating them anywhere is dreadful, it is particularly bad to do it in Cambridge.”
Apostrophes can play a key role in conveying the history of a place – for example, the name Queens’ College commemorates its founding by the wife of King Henry VI and then its refounding by King Edward IV’s consort, in contrast to nearby Queen’s Road.
East Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire ban apostrophes too – but they are allowed in south Cambridgeshire.
Cllr John Hipkin, who represents Castle and was formerly head of English at Meridian School in Royston, said: “Punctuation serves a valuable purpose – it helps to convey meaning more precisely and anything which erodes the precision of the English language is to be deplored.
“This is a regrettable erosion of the quality of the English language and such a departure in a city as highly educated as Cambridge is even more regrettable.”
The city council’s policy also bans street names which would be “difficult to pronounce or awkward to spell”, as well as names that “could give offence” or would “encourage defacing of nameplates”.
East Cambridgeshire District Council has gone further, stating: “Names capable of deliberate misinterpretation such as Hoare Lane should be avoided.”
Nick Milne, the city council officer responsible for street naming, said a consultation on the issue had provoked only one objection.
He said the policy brought the council into line with the National Land and Property Gazetteer (NLPG), where all new street names are registered.
Mr Milne said: “We follow guidance from the NLPG and it was decided potential confusion over incorrectly punctuated street names meant we wouldn’t use punctuation any more.
“Our understanding was that many data users including the emergency services make no reference at all as to whether an apostrophe is used or not.”
Existing street names are not affected by the policy.


Read more: http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Cambridge/Apostrophe-catastrophe-as-Cambridge-City-Council-bans-punctuation-from-new-street-names-20140117060000.htm##ixzz2qn3x1EOX