Friday, December 10, 2010

Do you know the names of these signs (&, ~, /, <, etc) in English? Read on and learn!

Have you ever had problems trying to say the names of signs like these: @, &, ~, /, <, {, {, |, etc?

Signs that are so familiar because you see them every day on the keyboard of your computer. However, you may not know that you don't know what to call them in English, until somebody asks you.

Well, your salvation (and mine, of course) is here. Like most of you, I need to say their names (I want to do that in a lecture), and to my horror I don't know how to do it. So I searched, and found this one. Go here for it.

And to be on the safe side, I copy the content of the page onto my blog, just to keep it where I can find it most easily.
Pronunciation guide for UNIX
How do I pronounce "vi" , or "!", or "/*", or ...? You can start a very long and pointless discussion by wondering about this topic on the net. Some people say "vye", some say "vee-eye" (the vi manual suggests this) and some Roman numerologists say "six". How you pronounce "vi" has nothing to do with whether or not you are a true Unix wizard.

Similarly, you'll find that some people pronounce "char" as "care", and that there are lots of ways to say "#" or "/*" or "!" or "tty" or "/etc". No one pronunciation is correct - enjoy the regional dialects and accents.


* Derived from UNIX
+ Derived from C
& Derived from NetHack
# Deserving further explanation, see explanations at the end.


SPACE, blank, ghost&

! EXCLAMATION POINT, exclamation (mark), (ex)clam, excl, wow, hey, boing,
bang#, shout, yell, shriek, pling, factorial, ball-bat, smash, cuss,
store#, potion&, not*+, dammit*#

" QUOTATION MARK, (double) quote, dirk, literal mark, rabbit ears,
double ping, double glitch, amulet&, web&, inverted commas

# CROSSHATCH, pound, pound sign, number, number sign, sharp, octothorpe#,
hash, (garden) fence, crunch, mesh, hex, flash, grid, pig-pen,
tictactoe, scratch (mark), (garden) gate, hak, oof, rake, sink&,
corridor&, unequal#, punch mark

$ DOLLAR SIGN, dollar, cash, currency symbol, buck, string#, escape#,
ding, big-money, gold&, Sonne#

% PERCENT SIGN, percent, mod+, shift-5, double-oh-seven, grapes, food&

& AMPERSAND, and, amper, address+, shift-7, andpersand, snowman,
bitand+, donald duck#, daemon&, background*, pretzel

' APOSTROPHE, (single) quote, tick, prime, irk, pop, spark, glitch,
lurker above&

* ASTERISK, star, splat, spider, aster, times, wildcard*, gear, dingle,
(Nathan) Hale#, bug, gem&, twinkle, funny button#, pine cone, glob*

() PARENTHESES, parens, round brackets, bananas, ears, bowlegs
( LEFT PARENTHESIS, (open) paren, so, wane, parenthesee, open, sad,
) RIGHT PARENTHESIS, already, wax, unparenthesee, close (paren), happy,
thesis, weapon&

+ PLUS SIGN, plus, add, cross, and, intersection, door&, spellbook&

, COMMA, tail, trapper&

- HYPHEN, minus (sign), dash, dak, option, flag, negative (sign), worm,

. PERIOD, dot, decimal (point), (radix) point, spot, full stop,
put#, floor&

/ SLASH, stroke, virgule, solidus, slant, diagonal, over, slat, slak,
across#, compress#, reduce#, replicate#, spare, divided-by, wand&,
forward slash, shilling#

: COLON, two-spot, double dot, dots, chameleon&

; SEMICOLON, semi, hybrid, giant eel&, go-on#

<> ANGLE BRACKETS, angles, funnels, brokets, pointy brackets, widgets
< LESS THAN, less, read from*, from*, in*, comesfrom*, crunch,
sucks, left chevron#, open pointy (brack[et]), bra#, upstairs&, west,
(left|open) widget
> GREATER THAN, more, write to*, into/toward*, out*, gazinta*, zap,
blows, right chevron#, closing pointy (brack[et]), ket#, downstairs&,
east, (right|close) widget

= EQUAL SIGN, equal(s), gets, becomes, quadrathorpe#, half-mesh, ring&

? QUESTION MARK, question, query, whatmark, what, wildchar*, huh, ques,
kwes, quiz, quark, hook, scroll&, interrogation point

@ AT SIGN, at, each, vortex, whirl, whirlpool, cyclone, snail, ape (tail),
cat, snable-a#, trunk-a#, rose, cabbage, Mercantile symbol, strudel#,
fetch#, shopkeeper&, human&, commercial-at, monkey (tail)

[] BRACKETS, square brackets, U-turns, edged parentheses
[ LEFT BRACKET, bracket, bra, (left) square (brack[et]), opensquare,
] RIGHT BRACKET, unbracket, ket, right square (brack[et]), unsquare, close,

\ BACKSLASH, reversed virgule, bash, (back)slant, backwhack, backslat,
escape*, backslak, bak, scan#, expand#, opulent throne&, slosh, slope,

^ CIRCUMFLEX, caret, carrot, (top)hat, cap, uphat, party hat, housetop,
up arrow, control, boink, chevron, hiccup, power, to-the(-power), fang,
sharkfin, and#, xor+, wok, trap&, pointer#, pipe*, upper-than#

_ UNDERSCORE, underline, underbar, under, score, backarrow, flatworm, blank,
chain&, gets#, dash#, sneak

` GRAVE, (grave/acute) accent, backquote, left/open quote, backprime,
unapostrophe, backspark, birk, blugle, backtick, push, backglitch,
backping, execute#, boulder&, rock&, blip

{} BRACES, curly braces, squiggly braces, curly brackets, squiggle brackets,
Tuborgs#, ponds, curly chevrons#, squirrly braces, hitchcocks#,
chippendale brackets#
{ LEFT BRACE, brace, curly, leftit, embrace, openbrace, begin+,
} RIGHT BRACE, unbrace, uncurly, rytit, bracelet, close, end+, a pool&

| VERTICAL BAR, pipe*, pipe to*, vertical line, broken line#, bar, or+,
bitor+, vert, v-bar, spike, to*, gazinta*, thru*, pipesinta*, tube,
mark, whack, gutter, wall&

~ TILDE, twiddle, tilda, tildee, wave, squiggle, swung dash, approx,
wiggle, enyay#, home*, worm, not+


!? interrobang (one overlapped character)
*/ asterslash+, times-div#
/* slashterix+, slashaster
:= becomes#
<- gets
<< left-shift+, double smaller
<> unequal#
>> appends*, cat-astrophe, right-shift+, double greater
-> arrow+, pointer to+, hiccup+
#! sh'bang, wallop
\!* bash-bang-splat
() nil#
&& and+, and-and+, amper-amper, succeeds-then*
|| or+, or-or+, fails-then*

-- NOTES --

! bang comes from old card punch phenom where punching ! code made a
loud noise; however, this pronunciation is used in the (non-
computerized) publishing and typesetting industry in the U.S.
too, so ...
Alternatively it could have come from comic books, where the
words each character utters are shown in a "balloon" near that
character's head. When one character shoots another, it is
common to see a balloon pointing at the barrel of the gun to
denote that the gun had been fired, not merely aimed.
That balloon contained the word "!" -- hence, "!" == "Bang!"
! store from FORTH
! dammit as in "quit, dammit!" while exiting vi and hoping one hasn't
clobbered a file too badly
# octothorpe from Bell System (orig. octalthorpe)
# unequal e.g. Modula-2
$ string from BASIC
$ escape from TOPS-10
$ Sonne In the "socialist" countries they used and are using all kinds
of IBM clones (hardware + sw). It was a common practice just
to rename everything (IBM 360 --> ESER 1040 etc.).
Of course the "dollar" sign had to be renamed - it became the
"international currency symbol" which looks like a circle with
4 rays spreading from it:
\/ \/
/ \
\ /

Because it looks like a (small) shining sun, in the German
Democratic Republic it was usually called "Sonne" (sun).
& donald duck from the Danish "Anders And", which means "Donald Duck"
* splat from DEC "spider" glyph
* Nathan Hale "I have but one asterisk for my country."
* funny button at Pacific Bell, * was referred to by employees as the "funny
button", which did not please management at all when it became
part of the corporate logo of Pacific Telesis, the holding
company ...
*/ times-div from FORTH
= quadrathorpe half an octothorpe
- bithorpe half a quadrathorpe (So what's a monothorpe?)
. put Victor Borge's Phonetic Punctuation which dates back to the
middle 1950's
/ across APL
/ compress APL
/ reduce APL
/ replicate APL
/ shilling from the British currency symbol
:= becomes e.g. Pascal
; go-on Algol68
< left chevron from the military: worn vertically on the sleeve to signify
< bra from quantum mechanics
<> unequal e.g. Pascal
> right chevron see "< left chevron"
> ket from quantum mechanics
@ snable-a from Danish; may translate as "trunk-a"
@ trunk-a "trunk" = "elephant nose"
@ strudel as in Austrian apple cake
@ fetch from FORTH
\ scan APL
\ expand APL
^ and from formal logic
^ pointer from PASCAL
^ upper-than cf. > and <
_ gets some alternative representation of underscore resembles a
_ dash as distinct from '-' == minus
` execute from shell command substitution
{} Tuborgs from advertizing for well-known Danish beverage
{} curly chevr. see "< left chevron"
{} hitchcocks from the old Alfred Hitchcock show, with the stylized profile
of the man
{} chipp. br. after Chippendale chairs
| broken line EBCDIC has two vertical bars, one solid and one broken.
~ enyay from the Spanish n-tilde
() nil LISP
Version 2.5, 1997

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