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LINGUIST List 16.2871

Wed Oct 05 2005

Media: Washington Post: The @ sign

Editor for this issue: Amy Renaud <renaudlinguistlist.org>

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        1.    Karen Chung, Washington Post: The @ sign

Message 1: Washington Post: The @ sign
Date: 04-Oct-2005
From: Karen Chung <karchungntu.edu.tw>
Subject: Washington Post: The @ sign

The Washington Post Sunday, October 2, 2005; Page B02

Where It's At -- and Where It's Not
By Nancy Szokan

...Of course. With a little imagination, I could see that a slice of
strudel resembles the @ sign that separates user name from host in e-mail
addresses. 'Strudel!' I hoot. Winkie, agreeing that it's funny, later sends
me a list of words that people in other countries have used for the @
symbol -- most of them a lot more entertaining (if less efficient) than our
simple 'at.'

The list, it turns out, came from an online site, Herodios.com, and was
based largely on research done in the early days of e-mail by linguist
Karen Steffen Chung of National Taiwan University. Her lengthy collection
of @-words, as well as some additions from Post foreign correspondents,
shows that while many countries have simply adopted the word 'at,' or call
the symbol something like 'circle A' or 'curled A,' more imaginative
descriptions still hold sway in many places.


Karen Chung


Linguistic Field(s): Anthropological Linguistics
Applied Linguistics
Writing Systems

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