Saturday, June 26, 2010

&, &c.

I remember the day I first realized that an ampersand is a stylized rendering of the Latin word "et."

It was about eleven years ago. I was sitting in my office, about to go teach class, looking at a CD that a colleague had lent me:

Suddenly it all became clear—that "and" sign was actually the letters "e" and "t" swirled together in a fancy way.

Granted, it was a small epiphany, but for days afterward I looked with new eyes at every ampersand I found. Suddenly, looking at ampersands was like looking at one of those Magic Eye posters.

I thought of that moment just now when I came across this amusing blog, Shit Ampersand, and its companion site, Good Ampersand.


Anonymous said...

I was just explaining this to my students the other day.

They were less than impressed.

framiko said...

Just show them this site and they'll understand.

Anonymous said...

ah, I had a similar epiphany only about two months ago when we were studying the bailout of the Savings & Loan industry by the Reagan administration. Unfortunately my own studies of the S&L industry was limited only to the abbreviation "S&L", and more specifically to the little symbol between the S and the L. While I now understand the symbol, I don't know a thing about savings, loans, or their industrial capacities.