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 Post subject: The Ampersand
PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2011 10:05 pm 
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¶ I have been growing fond of the ampersand; ’tis not a very usual symbol in our writings. ’Tis a symbol that is like a letter, yet we do not classify it as a letter. It behaves like a word, but we do not classify it as a word. We used to have it encluded in our alphabet, but no longer. We may classify the ampersand as a logogramme, which repræsents the conjunction ‘and’, as well it has remained true to that since its nativity in Latin. The ampersand is a combination of two Latin lettres: ‘et’ (pronounced approximately as ‘ate’) which as a word means ‘and’ or ‘plus’, which is cognate with Auntient Greek ἔτι (‘yet’, ‘still’) as well as Sanskrit ‘áti’ (‘beyond’). Because it is an old symbol, its shape had a lot of time to evolve; its origin is not apparent from its appearaunce, but the ampersand is a ligature, which means something used in tying or binding, as the word ‘et’ was written as one rather than two (or more) separate symbols; they were binded together. ¶ In mediæval typography, ligatures were very common as short‐cuts to save space as well as time. There were other ligatures, namely æ, œ, ff, fi, ffi, fl, ffl, st as well as the obsolete ſt, yet the ampersand has been præferred by itself, hardly ever utilized directly in words theirselves, with few exceptions. We possess coördinates from Latin that were spelt with &, namely: et al. (& al.), etc. (&c.), et seq. (& seq.), et ux. (& ux.), which to‐day are not regularly utilized, as they look alien to us modern writers, but they are valid spellings that were used (as searching on Google Books should prove) in centuries prævious, particularly before the mid‐20th Century. Aside from coördinates, ’twas formerly utilised regularly as a conjunction in formal texts such as law documents, as:

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From a document entitled ‘An Exact Book of Entries’, dated 1658 C.E., courtesy of Google Books. The word ‘&c.’ is apparent in the lowest row.

¶ Whilst the ampersand is synonymous with our term ‘and’, it is now shunned in modern texts, reserved strictly for occasions like proper nouns. Yet whilst it may take less effort to creäte, there is hardly any reason why the ampersand should no longer be regularly used as a conjunction, as ’twas in before the 18th century; & was used regularly in formal texts from many languages, from Romance languages to Germanic languages, only disused at the beginning of sentences (as & has no capital form). ’Tis an easily recognised symbol which is short‐hand for a very common conjunction in many languages. If there are useful symbols we neglect, the ampersand is surely one of them.
More information: 1,2 & 3, also more history of the ampersand, particularly its name, here.


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 Post subject: Re: The Ampersand
PostPosted: Fri Dec 09, 2011 10:34 pm 
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Darkshine Knight (Extremist fanatic)
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& is useful when you have a character limit or a specific amount of space you're allowed to write/type/etc. in, though I doubt anyone realizes this.

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 Post subject: Re: The Ampersand
PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2011 9:21 am 
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Why are you so fond of stupidly obscure symbols that no modern person uses, anyway?
Oh, and I can tell you a reason for why fewer and fewer different symbols are used, and symbols like this so-called ampersand end up being forgotten: symplicity. The simpler a language is, the easier it is for more people to gain access to it. English is quite possibly the most popular language in the world, for good reason: it's simple and efficient. It uses the simplest set of letters in the world, has easy-to-learn grammar and treats all objects as genderless.
Compare this to languages like Japanese, for example, which use an extremely complex and large set of thousands of symbols for things that we can more efficiently recreate with our (in comparison) tiny alphabet. It's incredibly difficult to learn Japanese, Chinese and similar languages, just because of the sheer amount of different symbols you need to memorize to do so.
Symbols like the ampersand aren't needed - we can express exactly the same in normal letters. That's probably why it was abandoned and forgotten.


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 Post subject: Re: The Ampersand
PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2011 9:44 am 
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The ampersand is cool, but I don't think it needs any more than what it has.

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 Post subject: Re: The Ampersand
PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2011 10:41 am 
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To paraphrase Shade, since you're interested in language, you obviously know that languages develop over time and things change, usually for the sake of simplicity. I'm looking at your post right now and I see you used a lot of old, generally forgotten symbols and expressions. I can also deduct from that, that your post took a lot longer to write than if you had simply written everything in plain modern English.

The ampersand may be a lot quicker to write than "and", but in handwriting, I always found it hard to write it well and make it look good. Thus whenever I attempted to write it, it would always take the same, or even more time, than simply writing "and", and would not always come off clear. I think most people had this problem and that is why it was phased out.

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 Post subject: Re: The Ampersand
PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2011 1:49 pm 
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Shade wrote:
Why are you so fond of stupidly obscure symbols that no modern person uses, anyway?

¶ Because they have purpose; just because they are not popular does not make them worthless. The ampersand is certainly not obscure (what else do ye have on your 6 key?).
Shade wrote:
Oh, and I can tell you a reason for why fewer and fewer different symbols are used, and symbols like this so-called ampersand end up being forgotten: symplicity [sic]. The simpler a language is, the easier it is for more people to gain access to it.

¶ How does reducing the inventory of lettres make a language simple? For the record, autient Latin had about 21 symbols with no lower‐case forms as well as no diacritics. Does not sound complicated to me.
Shade wrote:
English is quite possibly the most popular language in the world, for good reason: it's simple and efficient. It uses the simplest set of letters in the world, has easy-to-learn grammar and treats all objects as genderless.

¶ No, Rotokas likely deserves credit as the simplest set of lettres, but it is not an extremely popular language. I think ye might think it has simple grammar because your mother tongue is Germanic as well. How do ye know that English is popular because it is simple and not of œconomic dominance of English speakers, who carry that English with them?
Shade wrote:
Compare this to languages like Japanese, for example, which use an extremely complex and large set of thousands of symbols for things that we can more efficiently recreate with our (in comparison) tiny alphabet. It's incredibly difficult to learn Japanese, Chinese and similar languages, just because of the sheer amount of different symbols you need to memorize to do so.

So why do millions of people learn it as well as speak it fluently?
Shade wrote:
Symbols like the ampersand aren't needed - we can express exactly the same in normal letters. That's probably why it was abandoned and forgotten.

¶ So why was in popular in languages like Latin, French, English & cetera? How does the ampersand complicate things even though it requires less effort to make?
Cimeries wrote:
To paraphrase Shade, since you're interested in language, you obviously know that languages develop over time and things change, usually for the sake of simplicity. I'm looking at your post right now and I see you used a lot of old, generally forgotten symbols and expressions. I can also deduct from that, that your post took a lot longer to write than if you had simply written everything in plain modern English.

¶ My post could have been quicker to write if I utilized (inane) acronyms or if I subtracted all the vowels. There are many ways English could be simplified; why don’t we simplify it more‐so now?
Cimeries wrote:
The ampersand may be a lot quicker to write than "and", but in handwriting, I always found it hard to write it well and make it look good. Thus whenever I attempted to write it, it would always take the same, or even more time, than simply writing "and", and would not always come off clear. I think most people had this problem and that is why it was phased out.
Were ye taught how to write it in your school?


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 Post subject: Re: The Ampersand
PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2011 2:58 pm 
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I wasn't. I saw it on the keyboard and occasionally in the world, I asked my mother what it meant and had to learn to replicate it on my own.

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 Post subject: Re: The Ampersand
PostPosted: Sat Dec 10, 2011 3:30 pm 
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No, I wasn't taught it in school, obviously.
I'm not saying I have a problem with the ampersand, I'm rather impartial to the whole thing. I'm just saying that I can see why it would fall off common use. Adding another 'letter' to a language solely for a single expression, common as it may be, is a bit too much.

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 Post subject: Re: The Ampersand
PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2011 12:02 am 
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Just wondering: what's with the ¶s? They're not very useful and indicate nothing...

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 Post subject: Re: The Ampersand
PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2011 12:06 am 
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¶ indicates a new paragraph, something that is now represented by indention. :?

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 Post subject: Re: The Ampersand
PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2011 12:40 am 
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Seth wrote:
Because they have purpose; just because they are not popular does not make them worthless. The ampersand is certainly not obscure (what else do ye have on your 6 key?).

I can just turn that around and say that just because they have a purpose does not make them useful.
& is the symbol on my 6 key. I don't care what it's called, even though I do occassionally use it.

Seth wrote:
How does reducing the inventory of lettres make a language simple? For the record, autient Latin had about 21 symbols with no lower‐case forms as well as no diacritics. Does not sound complicated to me.

You have to memorize fewer different symbols. This is especially convenient when you remove symbols that are essentially duplicates of others (the same way "&" is just a different way to express "and"). Obviously, though, this is not the only thing determining whether a language is easy or difficult to learn.
Also, if you deem it necessary to go out of your way to mark mistakes in what I wrote, would you at least have the gentleness to point out what they are?

Seth wrote:
No, Rotokas likely deserves credit as the simplest set of lettres, but it is not an extremely popular language. I think ye might think it has simple grammar because your mother tongue is Germanic as well. How do ye know that English is popular because it is simple and not of œconomic dominance of English speakers, who carry that English with them?

Fine, so it's not the simplest set of letters. It's still simple.
Besides, I stated it as one of the likely reasons for why it's so popular. There may be other reasons, I don't really care.

Seth wrote:
So why do millions of people learn it as well as speak it fluently?

Maybe because Japan is an extremely powerful nation with lots of inhabitants?
Maybe because a lot of people like anime and manga, which happen to be Japanese most of the time and not always receive an English translation?
How would I know? I considered learning it as well, but I'm not gonna bother learning thousands of foreign symbols just for that.
Besides, speaking Japanese has absolutely nothing to do with the issue at hand, that being symbols (aka writing and reading). As far as I know, Japanese has relatively simple grammar, so if it wasn't for its own set of symbols for written language, it probably wouldn't be that difficult to learn.

Seth wrote:
So why was in popular in languages like Latin, French, English & cetera?

How would I know?

Seth wrote:
How does the ampersand complicate things even though it requires less effort to make?

It's a duplicate symbol for something that can already be expressed with different symbols exactly the same. It's unnecessary.
Besides, I take exactly the same amount of time to hit Shift+6 for & as for typing out "and" (or "und" in German). It's similar for my handwriting. In conclusion, I don't see how it takes less effort.


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 Post subject: Re: The Ampersand
PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2011 12:56 am 
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Seth wrote:
¶ Because they have purpose; just because they are not popular does not make them worthless. The ampersand is certainly not obscure (what else do ye have on your 6 key?).


^ is the symbol on my 6 key :| Shift-7 is &

I like pie, fish, and pineapples.
I like pie, fish, & pineapples.

I dunno, I like 'and' better than '&', it's easier to type and write to me :?

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 Post subject: Re: The Ampersand
PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2011 1:48 am 
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& is what is on my 7 key.
Also, Shade, most of those thousands of characters are only in Kanji (used for names only, and are pronounced the same as Hiragana or Katakana characters). Most Japanese people never stop learning Kanji, I have reason to believe - I wouldn't let the size of the language put you off! :P

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 Post subject: Re: The Ampersand
PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2011 6:42 am 
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Being in the U.S., I have &, which is probably just a different stylization of the ampersand you're using.

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 Post subject: Re: The Ampersand
PostPosted: Sun Dec 11, 2011 7:30 am 
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The 'euro' ampersand looks better IMO.

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