A post from Shady Characters

Miscellany Nº 7

The interrobang is still enjoying its 50th birthday — it was, after all, published in the March-April edition of Type Talks — and as such I’m sure you’ll forgive me for pointing out one final article on the subject. Nora Maynard’s interview with Penny Speckter for The Millions is brilliant: Lynne Truss is set to rights, Mad Men rubber-stamped, and the Speckters’ dedicated ‘Bodoni apartment’ explained.


Turning away from the interrobang for the moment, Lauren of Superlinguo, a Melbourne-based language blog and radio feature, laments the prosaic naming of the @-symbol. I would have to agree: ‘commercial at’ doesn’t hold a candle to ‘rose’, ‘rollmop herring’ or ‘worm’, but Shady Characters readers have already weighed in on this subject and perhaps ‘atra’, ‘aterra’ or ‘astatine’ — my personal favourite because of the chemistry pun — will catch on.


Finally, the Daily Telegraph sponsors a short but engaging video on the production of books. The contrast between the relative automation of different parts of the process is surprising; printing and binding are briskly efficient in their use of well-oiled, cast-iron machinery while a hand-made and applied hardback cover brings everything together with a deft human touch.

4 comments on “Miscellany Nº 7

  1. Comment posted by Lazlo Toth on

    Just found this site via a friend’s recommendation. Any enemy of the Lynne Truss School of Pedantry is a friend of mine. :) Hurry up and publish so you can take my money.

    1. Comment posted by Keith Houston on

      Hi Lazlo — I’m glad you like the site! The book is still on schedule for publishing towards the end of 2013. Sorry I can’t give you a more definite date just yet!

  2. Comment posted by Sune Mølgaard on

    Regarding the ‘@’, the Danish word for it, “Snabel-A”, means “Trunk A” with “Trunk” being the use of the word for the elephant facial appendage.

    The German “Klammeraffe” means “Bracket Monkey” :-)

    1. Comment posted by Keith Houston on

      I talked a little about names for the @-symbol in other languages here — do you know of any more that I may have missed?

      Thanks for the comment!

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