OK, I was going to let this one go. I heard it on NPR on the way home last evening, and I was just going to leave it, I was. But then I remembered the footnote at this entry, and Ray's comment in the comments, and, well, I just had to post this. So, you see, it's Ray's fault if today's entry is lame.
One of Arkansas’s legislators has introduced a resolution defining the possessive form of «Arkansas» as «Arkansas’s», with the final «s»:
Rep. Steve Harrelson, a Democrat in the Arkansas legislature, yesterday introduced a resolution to declare the correct way to write the possessive form of the state's name. That would be, he says, «Arkansas’s».
Harrelson says it all started with historian Parker Westbrook, a family friend.
“It's that sibilant letter, that sibilant «s» that really fires him up,” Harrelson says. “He is adamant that it must have an apostrophe and an «s» on the other side of the apostrophe.”
Not everyone agrees, however, including the largest newspaper in Little Rock, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. The daily stands by the Associated Press stylebook, which mandates that the state's possessive form is «Arkansas’».
Mr Westbrook is right, of course, though Representative Harrelson and NPR's Melissa Block make light of it. The possessive form of a singular name that ends in «s» is made by adding «’s», despite that the resultant «s’s» appears odd to some. And the US Board on Geographic Names be damned if it doesn't agree.
While we're on the subject of symbolic resolutions dealing with words, I'll also note that the New York City Council has just passed a resolution discouragi1ng the use of the well-known racial slur known less impolitely as “the n-word”:
NEW YORK (AP) — The City Council approved a resolution Wednesday urging New Yorkers not to use the n-word, citing its long history as a racial epithet and its widespread use among entertainers and youths as a term of endearment. Councilman Leroy Comrie, sponsor of the measure, began the effort weeks ago at the start of Black History Month. His proposal gradually gained nationwide notice and support.
“People are using it out of context,” Comrie said. “People are also denigrating themselves by using the word, and disrespecting their history, disrespecting the history of a people and a country, and also putting themselves in a negative light that we need to correct.”
Other communities have passed similar measures, and a historically black college in Alabama recently held a four-day conference to discuss the epithet. In New York, supporters gathered at City Hall, many wearing small pins featuring a single white “N” in a circle severed by a red slash.
I have no illusion that this will stop the use of the word, but any statement against its use strikes me as a good thing.