Friday, July 22, 2016

…I digress

Language is so endlessly entertaining.

Noises that mean stuff. Sometimes even noises that sound good that mean stuff.

Sometimes slightly wacky noises that mean little stuff.

I know, you’re tapping your fingers and muttering, “Example, already”

Consider the "at-sign." 

In Denmark it’s called the “snabel-a”—the elephant’s trunk-a
In Holland it’s called “apenstaartje”—monkey’s tail
In Russia it’s “sobachka”—little dog
In Germany the word is “klammeraffe”—hanging monkey

Why do we call it the “at-sign” in the English-speaking world?

One story is that medieval monks devised this symbol to represent the word “at” in the days before printing presses, when all books were written and copied by hand. It was just a shortcut.

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2016 All rights reserved.

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