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13 July 2007

Punctuation is Awesome

?
Did you know that the question mark is a stylised q on top of a very tiny o? It was monkish shorthand for questio, which they used to write at the end of a sentence to indicate it was a question.

!
Oh, and the exclamation mark is a stylised io, which means "exclamation of joy" in Latin.

&
This little critter didn't get a name until the 19th century, when it was taught as the 27th letter of the alphabet. The kiddies felt Awkward saying "w, x, y and and", so they said "w, x, y and, per se, and". Which turned into ampersand.

via Neatorama.

3 comments:

Librarian Idol said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Librarian Idol said...

I'd always wondered about the source of the word "ampersand", but never got around to looking it up. That's kinda cool. :)

However, I'm inclined to question some of the other claims in your source, in regards to it being a "stylised" rendering of the latin word "et" - somebody else has beaten me to it in the comments. It wasn't so much an invention of a new character, but rather a ligature of ink strokes in the word "et", which morphed together through the centuries.

Anonymous said...

Apparently in many countries they call the '@' a worm, cause it doesn't exist with any other use (apart from the internet) in their language. - Jen