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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.


Librarian Idol said...
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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