10.034 the wandering @ &al.

Humanist (mccarty@phoenix.Princeton.EDU)
Mon, 20 May 1996 22:30:36 -0400 (EDT)

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 10, No. 34.
Center for Electronic Texts in the Humanities (Princeton/Rutgers)
Information at http://www.princeton.edu/~mccarty/humanist/

[1] From: Jim Marchand <marchand@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu> (29)
Subject: Affenschwanz, etc.

[2] From: Jim Campbell <jmc@poe.acc.virginia.edu> (10)
Subject: Re: 10.31 polyglot @ and the double-crossed octothorpe

Date: Fri, 17 May 96 14:20:25 CST
From: Jim Marchand <marchand@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu>
Subject: Affenschwanz, etc.

The names which we give to the squiggles we put on paper are often quite
evanescent, even names of letters of the alphabet. Cf. E. S. Sheldon, "The
Origin of the English Names of the Letters of the Alphabet," Studies and
Notes in Philology and Literature 1 (1892), 66-87; _____, "Further Notes on
the Names of the Letters," Studies, etc. II (1893), 155-171; Max Hermann
Jellinek, "Der Aussprache des Lateinischen und deutsche Buchstabennamen,"
Wiener Sitzungsberichte, Phil.-hist. Kl. 212, vol. 2 (1932). Anyone who
followed the name `haitch' for `aitch' (= h), or Harry Truman's `from a to
izzard' would know this. Indeed, even today, there is little uniformity in
names for such things as # (number, cross-hatch, cross-double-bar [as in
Smith and Trager's `cross-double-bar-juncture']). The ampersand is in
origin an etc ligature, the @ an a with a t over it (there was also an _ut_
sign for printers doing Latin). What to call ligatures was always a
problem. As to @, when I worked as a clerk in Germany in the late 40's, we
said Kreis-a, and I feel that Affenschwanz has a definite derogatory bent.
In late 1940's German, BTW, anything preceded by Ammi- had a bad
connotation, so we often called it Ammi-a (you could also spell it Ami-).
Even attempts to give names to the signs of the phonetic alphabet are doomed
to failure in some areas: Geoffrey K. Pullum and William A. Ladusaw,
_Phonetic Symbol Guide_ (U Chicago Press, 1986), 65, call the "Gothic" sign
for [hw] `H-V Ligature', which it certainly is not, and which has a long and
venerable tradition of being called `The Collitz Letter,' it having been
invented by Hermann Collitz, of blessed memory. I note that they call #
`Number Sign', in spite of Smith and Trager. Trema they call umlaut, though
it is found above e, for example.
It would be nice if we had some uniformity. Maybe ISO could take it up.
At present, when asked `What is @ called in X?' answer `many things'.
To those who want to have _period_ used only to mean `full stop', I say
vsevo khoroshiva `luck to you'.
Jim Marchand.

Date: Thu, 16 May 1996 18:56:12 -0400
From: Jim Campbell <jmc@poe.acc.virginia.edu>
Subject: Re: 10.31 polyglot @ and the double-crossed octothorpe

I've found the discussion of words for @ and other signs fascinating, but
most of it has wandered away from the original poster's question. A few
people have told us that "at" is a common way of speaking @ in an email
address, but could some of the other respondents go back to the question
and tell us how an e-mail address is spoken in their languages?

That is, in American English I would say
campbell at virginia dot e d u

How would you tell a colleague your email address in your language?

- Jim Campbell (campbell@virginia.edu)