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    #1

    The @ symbol

    I have just read some (useless?) information that I wanted to share with my fellow language fans. (Is this the correct forum?)

    English speakers refer to the @ symbol as the "at mark" or "commercial at."

    What about other speakers?

    According to the March, 2015, print issue of Reader's Digest:

    Dutch people call it a monkey's tail.
    Israeli people people call it a strudel.
    Russian people call it the little dog.
    Italian people call it the small snail.
    Bosnian people call it the crazy A.

  1. suikerbossie's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: The @ symbol

    In Italy the @ or "a commerciale"is called chiocciola, or chiocciolina, i.e. small snail.

    Because it looks like a little snail, of course!!

    So when dictating your email address to someone, you say (if your name is Mario Rossi): mario punto rossi chiocciola gmail punto com !!

  2. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: The @ symbol

    So many people know this symbol that when giving out an email address, we just say "Mark dot Williams at gmail dot com". If we have to be more specific (in a computer context), we tend to call it "an/the at sign". I've never heard or used "at mark" or "commercial at".
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  3. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: The @ symbol

    It was called the "business/commercial at" a long time ago when it was on cash registers. A grocer for example would enter a number of items followed by @ and the cost per item: 12 apples @ 13 cents each.

  4. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: The @ symbol

    I agree with ems. I most often hear the "at sign" these days.

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    #6

    Re: The @ symbol

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    I've never heard or used "at mark" or "commercial at".
    I've only come across those terms in discussions like these- it was a symbol that was largely unknown or just recognised before IT adopted it, since when it has just been at. It may have been known by those names to specialists in itemised bills in the 1950s or something, but I would say that very few English speakers refer to it today by these names.

  5. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: The @ symbol

    It was used in the Civil Service on file notes for years before IT adopted it. When I worked at an airport, I frequently wrote things like "[Passenger name] arrived @ LHR TN2 @ 1615hrs", which means "[Passenger name] arrived at London Heathrow Airport, Terminal 2, at 4.15pm". As you can see, it simply replaced "at", as it still does.
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  6. salvador.dal1950's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: The @ symbol

    It is also called "arroba" in Spanish.

  7. charliedeut's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: The @ symbol

    Quote Originally Posted by salvador.dal1950 View Post
    It is also called "arroba" in Spanish.
    An "arroba" was a measure of weight in Spain, which ran out of use long ago.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/At_sign (and its Spanish version for those who may understand it): http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arroba_(s%C3%ADmbolo).
    Please be aware that I'm neither a native English speaker nor a teacher.

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    #10

    Re: The @ symbol

    Quote Originally Posted by emsr2d2 View Post
    It was used in the Civil Service on file notes for years before IT adopted it. When I worked at an airport, I frequently wrote things like "[Passenger name] arrived @ LHR TN2 @ 1615hrs", which means "[Passenger name] arrived at London Heathrow Airport, Terminal 2, at 4.15pm". As you can see, it simply replaced "at", as it still does.
    Interesting- the only place I had seen it before email was on the occasional bill.

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