X, Y, Z, and per se, and
April 18, 2012 Leave a comment
It’s the midweek hump. It’s that day after a frantic Monday and Tuesday that the week begins to turn to WTF… and I’m swamped with work — files to edit, checklists to review, proposed work flow to assess, not to mention the freelance writing projects — the list seems unending!
Sadly, I still don’t have the energy nor the resolve to begin working on any of my tasks. My brain’s still floating in the surf somewhere in Zambales, and my thoughts are still with that hot skimboarding dudette. Speaking of which, lemme share with you some of the ‘action’ shots I took of her while she was practicing… Oooops! I forgot. No more Facebook in the office. DANG!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh well… right now, I’m just staring at the twin monitors in my workstation, while Salt N’Peppa’s ‘Push It’ drones in the background.
Browsing through http://www.dictionary.com — yeah, I do that as a ‘past time’… Pathetic? Maybe. But I know some words that you could only dream about. Hahahahaha! Anyway… — my attention was caught by a banner: Did you know: There used to be a 27th member of the alphabet, and it will surprise you.
Clicking on the link, I was led to this page (too bad, I cannot directly share the page, so I just copied and pasted it here):
What character was removed from the alphabet but is still used every day?
Johnson & Johnson, Barnes & Noble, Dolce & Gabbana: the ampersand today is used primarily in business names, but that small character was once the 27th part of the alphabet. Where did it come from though? The origin of its name is almost as bizarre as the name itself.
The shape of the character (&) predates the word ampersand by more than 1,500 years. In the first century, Roman scribes wrote in cursive, so when they wrote the Latin word et which means “and” they linked the e and t. Over time the combined letters came to signify the word “and” in English as well. Certain versions of the ampersand, like that in the font Caslon, clearly reveal the origin of the shape.
The word “ampersand” came many years later when “&” was actually part of the English alphabet. In the early 1800s, school children reciting their ABCs concluded the alphabet with the &. It would have been confusing to say “X, Y, Z, and.” Rather, the students said, “and per se and.” “Per se” means “by itself,” so the students were essentially saying, “X, Y, Z, and by itself and.” Over time, “and per se and” was slurred together into the word we use today: ampersand. When a word comes about from a mistaken pronunciation, it’s called a mondegreen. Find out why here.
(The ampersand is also used in an unusual configuration where it appears as “&c” and means etc. The ampersand does double work as the e and t.)
The ampersand isn’t the only former member of the alphabet. Learn what led to the extinction of the thorn and the wynn.
WHADDAYAKNOW?!?!?! That surprised you too, didn’t it?
I think I’m good-to-go now. My brain cells are with me again. Also, I realized that my work won’t get done per se.