Article: The perils of trying to tinker with English
Posted: 11 July 2013 01:23 AM   [ Ignore ]
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http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/4814060.html

Will one ambitious restaurateur’s noble quest to replace the word “the” with the symbol “ћ” join the long list of failed attempts to tinker with the English language? Roly Sussex thinks so.

Paul Mathis, the well known Australian restaurateur, is laying out substantial amounts of his money - almost $40,000 of it - to replace the spelt word “the” in English.

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Posted: 11 July 2013 01:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Despite being nearly 40 years since I did physics at school, I still want to read h-bar as the reduced Planck constant. I was also reminded of Alfred Bester’s The Demolished Man with characters named @kins, Wyg& and ¼maine (among others).

The object of the scheme seems to be to save keystrokes. However, with the whole of Unicode to mine and the wealth of additional characters therein, we could have a return to the abbreviations and contractions of secretary hand and save even more keystrokes! (& possibly make a complete # of legibility.)

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Posted: 11 July 2013 03:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Better we should make do wiþ symbols đat we already have available. Ðey do not require đat we add symbols to existing character sets.

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Posted: 11 July 2013 04:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Since the proposed abbreviation represents a word, rather than a letter like the thorn < Þ, þ > or the eth < Ð, ð >, a better analog would be the symbol for that in medieval texts: 100px-ThornwStroke.svg.png

It’s a < t >, hence the cross-stroke, superimposed upon a thorn. It might also appear in manuscripts as the < t > written over the thorn: abbrev_that.jpg

Scribes would also write an < e > over a thorn for the or an < s > over a thorn for this, but these abbreviations are less common.

There are hundreds of such abbreviations, so many that there are paleography books that are nothing but glossaries of the abbreviation practices. (Which is one reason that reading medieval manuscripts is so hard; they’re chock-a-block with abbreviations.) But most of these abbreviations went out of use with the advent of the printing press. They disappeared for a reason—if you’re not writing by hand, they’re more trouble than they’re worth. It seems pointless to try an introduce them now. They don’t save much space, either on the page or in bytes, and they’re unwieldy to deploy. Not to mention that convincing people to use them is a hopeless task.

The history of the @ symbol is instructive. For years, it existed as a specialized symbol used in accounting, very useful in a very narrow and specialized application because it signaled the number that followed represented a unit price. Then the designers of ARPA’s email system used it as a component in email addresses because it was already on standard keyboards and bytes were then really expensive, so saving a few really mattered. Since email has become ubiquitous, the @ symbol hasn’t really infiltrated into the language at large. It’s mainly restricted to jocular or idiosyncratic uses. There just isn’t a need for it. “At” is easy to type.

[ Edited: 11 July 2013 08:09 AM by Dave Wilton ]
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Posted: 11 July 2013 04:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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What if you are struggling to stay under the 140 character tweet limit?

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