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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Symbol for THE

An Aussie restaurateur wants to change the world of the written word

From the Sydney Morning Herald

No, Paul Mathis (who owns a string of Melbourne restaurants) doesn't want to change this blog, most probably not knowing about it, but he does want to replace the common little word "the" with a symbol.  He says it will make it a lot easier for texters and twitters, as it would take just one tap instead of three.  And that it makes sense to abbreviate the most common word in the world.

He probably doesn't realize that he is repeating history. Well, almost.  The word "the" used to be just two symbols, the thorn plus the "e".

The thorn is that ancient-looking symbol, beloved of Olde Worlde cafes and history reenactors, that looks like a fancy "y" or a fancy "p" and was used for the "th" sound.  And, connected to an "e", it could make a symbol eerily like the one that Mr. Mathis has devised.

And is it likely to happen?  I don't think so.  Picture all the iPad and iPhone makers tearing out their hair at the very idea of redesigning their keyboards, let alone all the people who make keyboards for computers, and the designers who would have to make sure that the computer understand....

1 comment:

Dale said...

In ancient days (the 1960s) I got used to using "journo's shorthand" when making notes, in which the word "the" or the th sound is represented by a diagonal stroke.