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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

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Media: BBC: The @ sign

Submitter: Karen S. Chung

Submitter Email: karchung@ntu.edu.tw
Media Body: Some of you may remember the survey on names for the @ sign in
different languages (see:

http://linguistlist.org/issues/7/7-968.html #1,
http://linguistlist.org/issues/7/7-1177.html #1 and
http://linguistlist.org/issues/11/11-1970.html #1).

The BBC has picked up on the story, and broadcast a feature on the
@ sign in the March 12, 2003 European edition of the _The World
Today_. An audio file of the broadcast is available at this URL:


The audio link can also be accessed from this text page:


It's an hour-long program, and the feature doesn't start till
about the 53 minute point. You can push the cursor to almost the end
of the slidebar to get to the feature more quickly.

For those interested, a number of links to other media reports in
various languages on the @ sign are collected here:


The BBC feature concludes with a call for listeners to contribute
further names for the @ sign in their own languages. So if a name used
for the @ sign in a language you know is not included in the above
sums, please do write and let me know - and/or e-mail the BBC a
world.today@bbc.co.uk - and I may be able to summarize yet again!

Another round of thanks to all the people who helped with the
original @ survey!

Karen Steffen Chung
National Taiwan University


Issue Number: 14.713
Date Posted: March 12, 2003

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