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Old 10-02-2005, 02:03 PM   #1
terrie
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Default An @ by any other name...

KT...thought you'd enjoy this...I wasn't quite sure where to put it but in the end decided that Words was the best place...


In today's Washington Post there is a wonderful article on what the @ is called around the world--as it relates to email addresses. Unfortunately the web page does not have the whimsical illustrations that accompanied the print article...

Here's a bit of the article:

>>I'm talking on the phone to an Israeli writer who goes by the nickname Winkie, and I want to send him some information. "What's your e-mail?" I ask. "Winkie M, Strudel, Yahoo dot com," he says.

"Strudel?" I said. "As in the pastry?" (I'm thinking: Maybe he has a little bakery on the side?) "You mean WinkieM, then s-t-r-u-d- . . . "

"No, no -- it's strudel , that little A sign," he says. "I think you call it 'at'?"

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. <<


Some of the names:

Russia = @ is sobaka (dog) or sobachka (doggie)


Some people think the @ looks like a monkey chasing its tail so they use a variation of monkey and tail:

Bulgarian = majmunsko Polish = alpa
Sebian = majmun
Albanian = shenja e majmunit (the monkey sign)
Afrikaans = aapstert (ape's tail)
Swedish = apsvans
Dutch = apestaart
German speaking Swiss = Aff enschwanz


Snail like:
Korean = dalphaengi
Italian = hiocciola
Hebrew = shablul


Curled up cat:
Finnish = miuku mauku
Slovakia & the Czech Republic = zavinac


Others that were interesting:
Denmark = snabel (elephant's trunk)
Occitan speakers (parts of Italy, France & Spain) = alabast (little hook)
Madarin Chinese = xiao lao shu (little mouse)
Mongolian = buurunhii dotorh aa (A in round circle)


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Old 10-02-2005, 03:25 PM   #2
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That's great! I love things like that!

   
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Old 10-02-2005, 04:38 PM   #3
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Terrie:

And what's the symbol we usually call an 'at' really? I favour 'ad', which what it probably was, though I've never received a biil in Latin. And do type designers think out fancy variations, just as they do the 'et'-symbol?

   
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Old 10-02-2005, 05:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terrie
"Winkie M, Strudel, Yahoo dot com," he says.
Strudel is pretty common. If you have ever made (or even eaten this delicacy, you can see how it could be!).

Quote:
Originally Posted by terrie
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.
Very neat. Thanks for the link!

   
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Old 10-02-2005, 05:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Rowley
And what's the symbol we usually call an 'at' really?
It is usually called “commercial at sign” here.

   
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Old 10-02-2005, 06:39 PM   #6
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Never realized those Mongolians were so sensible.

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Old 10-03-2005, 08:26 AM   #7
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KT:

It is usually called “commercial at sign” here

Yes, but it isn't (or wasn't) used exclusively in anglophone countries, although it is not used nowadays in France or Germany (who use 'to'—the equivalent of Latin 'ad').

   
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Old 10-03-2005, 12:29 PM   #8
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>>elysec: That's great! I love things like that!

I thought it was interesting too...

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