Typography and Punctuation

I’m really enjoying reading about the histories of punctuation and typography, like the ampersand:

“Ampersand” is short for “and per se and.” I did not know this.

A fun thought is the fact that, without all these little trifling thingys like # and &, we wouldn’t have the Internet or computer programming languages. Because all programming is built on the characters that won’t get compiled as letters. The little scrappy losers of written language, the guys whose names no one remembers (“honey what’s the thingy on the phone dial – is that the asterix[1] or is the hash sign?”) are the guys who built the technology revolution. They’re the Bad News Bears of Language, the Little Engines That Could of Semiotics, the nerds and outcasts who changed the world…much like their programmers.

1.) The use of the word “asterix” or any other erroneous variants of “asterisk” is almost as maddening to me as the use of “expresso.” Or “right justified” when people mean “aligned to the right”.

One thought on “Typography and Punctuation”

  1. I love this sort of study as well. I have a load of linguistics texts and grammar texts and style texts, but most are short on history. What are you reading? Recommend a book?

    Just found your blog. Love it.


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