I’VE SEEN A SIGN


@2I’ll be the first to admit we all have strange pet hates that we either can’t explain or refuse to admit to because there’s no rational reason for entertaining them and I’m no exception. I freely admit I have a serious dislike for the use of the @ symbol instead of the extremely difficult to spell the word “at”” (yes that was sarcasm at it’s lowest). I know to some it might seem ‘cool’ to replace words in a sentence with something graphically more pleasing but when I received an official communication from a staff member and it was peppered with “@” and “ur” and even a “thnx”, I had to draw the line (and not just  because I work in education!).

It’s not that I have it in for symbols – I love the odd ampersand for instance – and I know how much impact a commonly used sign or symbol can have when trying to warn people who don’t all speak your language, but the line has to be drawn somewhere. I recall reading about a campaign in the early twentieth century to remove the ‘snobbery’ from the English language and accept what was seen as the logical spelling of words rather than being a slave to convention. None other than George Bernard Shaw himself added his weight to the campaign. It failed at the time, probably because it challenged the nature of phonics and used the word “fish” as an example when they spelt it “ghoti” – “f”as in enough, “i” as it appears in “women” and  “sh” as in station. 

In a small way technology is inadvertently helping to rectify the situation. I don’t mind admitting being amused when I first noticed websites listing email addresses as me.at.you.com to avoid spambots. 

Do you have any piece of text-speak that has crept into common usage that irritates you?

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