"the deadliest bullshit is odorless and transparent" - William Gibson

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Please help me fulfill my utopian dreams

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Image hosted by Photobucket.com

For some reason yesterday I was giving my email out over the phone and I realized that I hate saying "at" as in "My email address is myname at domain dot com." It just doesn't feel good on the tounge the way "dot com" does, and for some reason people always mishear it...and then I had probably the most brilliant idea of my life. Instead of pronouncing the "@" as "at" we should use the dj record scratch sound effect ("errah"). example "My email is jeffbezos ERRAH amazon dot com."
It just sounds better, right? And something about the @ symbol is graphically reminiscent of the record scratch motion.

According to webopedia, "before the symbol became a standard key on typewriter keyboards in the 1880s and a standard on QWERTY keyboards in the 1940s, the @ sign had a long if somewhat sketchy history of use throughout the world...While in the English language, @ is referred to as the "at sign," other countries have different names for the symbol that is now so commonly used in e-mail transmissions throughout the world. Many of these countries associate the symbol with either food or animal names." My favorites are:

• Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian - In these countries, it is referred to as the "Crazy I"
• Czech - In the Czech Republic, it is called zavinac, meaning "rollmop," or "pickled herring"
• Mandarin Chinese - In Taiwan it is called xiao lao-shu, meaning "little mouse," lao shu-hao, meaning "mouse sign," at-hao, meaning "at sign" or lao shu-hao, meaning "mouse sign"
• Turkish - In Turkey, most e-mailers call it kulak, meaning "ear"

So, in addition to sounding better, adopting the Dj scratch pronunciation of "@" in email addresses will bring world unity one step closer. Hip-hop is the universal music of our generation and the DJ scratch sound effect both transcends international boundaries and gives credit to our generation's ingenuity and spirit instead of some 12th century merchant who needed a quicker way to write "10 hens for sale at a price of 10 pence each".

Please help me make this vision a reality by adopting the DJ scratch convention of pronouncing the "@" symbol when speaking an email address. The world will be a better place.


At 3:22 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

Good luck. I like the idea but I think the masses are against you.

Consider that geeks and hackers have long since abandoned the incredibly awkward "exclamation point" in favor of the more compact "bang". They've also reduced "pound sign" to "hash".
And yet, both remain virtually unknown outside hackerdom.

"errah", while definitely cooler than "at", has a problem. Fortunately, the plebeians don't care that it's an extra syllable, as proven by the continued acceptance of "exclamation point". I think the main problem is that email addresses were designed around the "at" pronunciation - "goofy at disney dot com". Disney is where Goofy is purportedly "at".

At 3:40 PM, Blogger Erik martin said...

Good points. Yeah, why didn't "bang" catch on? I guess people just dont like change, especially if it makes things better and more fun.

Still, for most of the world the "@" doesn't represent the word "at". Could Goofy purportedly "crazy I" disney, or maybe Goofy could "Mouse sign" disney?

...I definitely need to attach a few audio files of examples to this post. That will start the wildfire.

At 1:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didnt find thing that i need... :-(


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