Download On the Dot: The Speck That Changed the World by Alexander Humez PDF

By Alexander Humez

Regardless of the common-or-garden origins of its identify (Anglo Saxon for "the speck on the head of a boil"), the dot has been the most flexible gamers within the background of written communique, to the purpose that it has turn into almost crucial. Now, in at the Dot, Alexander and Nicholas Humez provide a breathtaking, unique account of this a lot ignored and miniscule linguistic signal. The Humez brothers make clear the dot in all its a variety of kinds. As a mark of punctuation, they convey, it performs many roles--as sentence stopper, a constituent of the colon (a clause stopper), and the ellipsis (dot dot dot). In musical notation, it denotes "and a half." In computerese, it has numerous varied services (as in dot com, the marker among a dossier identify and its extension, and in a few a little extra arcane makes use of in programming languages). The dot additionally performs a few roles in arithmetic, together with the notation of global foreign money (such as money dot cents), in Morse code (dots and dashes), and within the raised dots of Braille. and because the authors attach these kinds of dots, they take readers on an interesting travel of the highways and byways of language, starting from the historical past of the query mark and its lesser identified offshoots the purpose d'ironie and the interrobang, to acronyms and backronyms, strength element bullets and asterisks, emoticons and the "at-sign." Playful, wide-ranging, and delightfully informative, at the Dot unearths how completely the dot is embedded in our daily international of phrases and concepts, buying an influence inversely proportional to its diminutive dimension.

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Extra resources for On the Dot: The Speck That Changed the World

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Of course, in a sense we do do things by halves every time we go halvesies (or in some places halfsies), which is to say even Steven, probably rhyming slang and usually referring to a two-way division, as opposed to share and share alike, which can be any number. a. a Black-and-Tan). A half-note is the same as a semibreve, two of which equal a whole note or breve, also equal to four quarter notes (British crotchet), of which on the dot half is an eighth note (British minim), half of that a sixteenth (British quaver), half of that a 32d (semiquaver), half of that a 64th (demisemiquaver), and half of that a 128th (hemidemisemiquaver), with five flags on its stem (and as may be imagined, quite rarely needed).

Defines laundry list as “[a]n item-by-item enumeration”—something of a misnomer, since the usual way of thinking of a laundry is that one needn’t do it in any particular order, and one can skip some (though hope springs eternal that it will all come to pass, in the fullness of time at least). )—compare wish list: Ideally, I’d like all the stuff on this list (possibly prioritized), but I won’t be surprised if I don’t get everything. ”) A variant of this is the hit list, until recently the province of mobsters but now coming into favor as an expressive art form among disgruntled secondary-school students.

They are not bilaterally symmetrical, as we are. ” Mitchison’s on the dot parable deconstructs the either-or mind-set that is crucial to conventional scientific thinking, the rational empiricism that brought the 20th century such spectacular successes as aviation, penicillin, radar, television, nuclear reactors, catalytic converters, human space-suit footprints on the moon, DNA mapping, and cell phones. Aside from all the technological goodies, it’s not all that easy to transcend the ineluctable modality of the dual when it’s built right into the language.

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