Ever wonder what the official names are for some of the familiar characters on your keyboard or the less common marks you see on the printed page? This week's words fill you in....
- octothorpe - the beloved '#' character goes by many names: pound sign, hash mark, sharp, scratch, etc.; my favorite is 'octothorpe' (the story behind the name is here)
- solidus - the typesetting folks use this word as a name for '/'; naturally '\' is a reverse solidus :)
- virgule - another name for the solidus
- dieresis - the '¨' (umlaut) mark when used to note that a vowel is pronounced separately from the preceding vowel (most commonly seen in the word naïve)
- cedilla - the '¸' mark used in words like aperçu and garçon; this is my favorite, since there is a Greek connection: cedilla means "little zeta" and is a vestige of the days when a 'z' (Greek ζ) was placed after the 'c' to denote an 's' sound
Peter Saint-Andre > Journal