Apostrophe Hell – Part 3: Is it all Greek?

HALLOWEEN SPECIAL!

Apostrophe Hell
Dumichka was nearly finished for the day when the phone rang. It was DC Dash from the local police station.

“I was wondering if you can help us with this one, it’s not a straightforward request” started DC Dash, and Dumichka braced herself for another late finish.

Providing translation and interpreting services for the police was an exciting and challenging job, and even though she knew she won’t get to leave work on time today, she couldn’t wait to hear what the request was – to her it was like taking part in one of those detective stories that she liked reading. Besides, if she was late enough, she might just miss all the trick-or-treaters at home…

“What it is, we’ve had two shops vandalised tonight”, DC Dash started explaining. “Both done by what looks like people wearing costumes. Very different costumes – one dressed like a banana, and the other one – like some kind of two-headed monster. What is similar is that in both places, they’ve left the same note, kind of like a graffiti sprayed on the wall. It looks like a word but we can’t make anything out of it, looks like another language, so I was wondering if you can take a look at it for us and see if you can work out what language it is, and what it means.”

“Sure, can you send us a picture of it?”

“Yup, just give me 5 minutes”.

Dumichka waited with growing curiosity for the email to arrive. A few minutes later it flashed in her inbox, and she opened the attachment to have a look at the word.

ἀπόστροφος

She could tell immediately that it was Greek, and was beginning to guess what it means, but had to check with one of the qualified translators first.

***

Apostrophe”, she told DC Dash on the phone a few minutes later, “It’s the Greek word for Apostrophe”.

***

Later that evening, Dumichka watched the news with a sense of achievement as the reported talked about the swift arrest made after two shops were vandalised this evening. The perpetrators were a group of grammar vigilantes who explained that they couldn’t stand it when they saw the sign “Banana’s 20p each”, with an apostrophe in it.

“Bananas are not in possession in 20p each! They are just plural!!!

“And then that department store with their ‘Womens clothing’ – ‘women’ is already in plural, you can’t make it even more plural!!!”

They had then decided to give the shop owners a grammar lesson they will never forget…

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