"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone. "When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."
Thursday, 12 November 2009
Tilde (and friends)
When writing something on my Rambles blog I used the word tilde and it occurred to me that not everyone might know what a tilde was. So I thought I would define it here.
A tilde (pronounced Till-dee) is a diacritical mark (~) placed over the letter n in Spanish to indicate a palatal nasal sound or over a vowel in Portuguese to indicate nasalization. It is also used over the latter A in some languages. It is also sometimes known as a ‘swung dash’.
Once I had written that definition I thought – I wonder if everyone knows what a diacritic is. So I thought I’d add that definition:- A diacritic (also diacritical mark, diacritical point, diacritical sign) is an ancillary glyph added to a letter, or basic glyph.
So what is a glyph, I hear someone ask? A glyph is a fancy word for a shape. It is a component that makes up a typeface. For example, the dot on the letter "i" is a glyph, as is the vertical line, as are the serifs. (Serifs are little hooks on the ends of the font. The serifs usually help make the font more readable. .... )
Another definition said the tilde (~) is a grapheme with several uses.
In typography, a grapheme is the fundamental unit in written language. Graphemes include alphabetic letters, Chinese characters, numerical digits, punctuation marks, and all the individual symbols of any of the world's writing systems.
The tilde was originally written over some letters as a mark of abbreviation. It is used in dictionaries to indicate the omission of the entry word. Apparently it is also used in online chat situations to denote sarcasm.
In summary, the tilde is the sorta squiggly dash character on a keyboard.
My daughter Helen commented in November 2008 in her Blog that she was now keeping a notebook of new words that she came across during her reading. "This week I bought a lovely little leather bound book to write new words in as I read them . I've added a few from "1984", but my favourite has to be persiflage (from the French persifler) which means banter." I later discovered that my older daughter, Bryony, also kept a similar notebook.
This inspired me to create a Word blog. This will include both new words, favourite words and the origins of phrases that we commonly use. A definition and some comment, perhaps even a relevant quotation, will acompany the word or phrase.
“I am a Bear of Very Little Brain, and long words bother me.” - Winnie the Pooh
Thanks for stopping by! Would you like a cup of tea or coffee? And please, sit for a spell. If you enjoy my posts, please feel free to follow me or subscribe to my blog. This is a word verification free, family friendly blog, so everything I share here is for all ages. I am a happily married man in my late sixties who lives on the Wirral peninsula, near Liverpool, in the UK.
I'm a blogger - and nowadays that seems to be my main occupation. Rambles from My Chair is my main blog. I’m a retired local government executive - now studying how to survive a neurological disorder that gives me various problems but, hopefully, a whole new outlook on life and an increased sense of humour and perspective. There is a saying in Sweden "man måste vara frisk för att orka vara sjuk" ~ "you have to be well to cope with being ill"....
I enjoy most forms of communication and postcards are a special favourite. I used to blog as Scriptor Senex which is Latin for Old Writer but now Google only lets me post as John Edwards.
“He’s not so old. He’s just the age that he is, that’s all.” (Gerald Hammond)