On the Dot : The Speck That Changed the World

On the Dot : The Speck That Changed the World

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Despite the humble origins of its name (Anglo Saxon for qthe speck at the head of a boilq), the dot has been one of the most versatile players in the history of written communication, to the point that it has become virtually indispensable. Now, in On the Dot, Alexander and Nicholas Humez offer a wide ranging, entertaining account of this much overlooked and miniscule linguistic sign. The Humez brothers shed light on the dot in all its various forms. As a mark of punctuation, they show, it plays many roles--as sentence stopper, a constituent of the colon (a clause stopper), and the ellipsis (dot dot dot). In musical notation, it denotes qand a half.q In computerese, it has several different functions (as in dot com, the marker between a file name and its extension, and in some slightly more arcane uses in programming languages). The dot also plays a number of roles in mathematics, including the notation of world currency (such as dollars dot cents), in Morse code (dots and dashes), and in the raised dots of Braille. And as the authors connect all these dots, they take readers on an engaging tour of the highways and byways of language, ranging from the history of the question mark and its lesser known offshoots the point d'ironie and the interrobang, to acronyms and backronyms, power point bullets and asterisks, emoticons and the qat-sign.q Playful, wide-ranging, and delightfully informative, On the Dot reveals how thoroughly the dot is embedded in our everyday world of words and ideas, acquiring a power inversely proportional to its diminutive size.... era of a€œsmarta€ devices, from appliances to automobiles: In order to open the windows of the 2000 Kia Sephia, for example, ... (One might think manual override options would come with all such electronic-nanny modules, given our culturea#39;sanbsp;...

Title:On the Dot : The Speck That Changed the World
Author:Alexander Humez, Nicholas Humez
Publisher:Oxford University Press, USA - 2008-09-04


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