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@ (at)

时间:2007-4-27栏目:英语论文

主题:@ (at)
版权所有:wildes 原作 提交时间:21:09:15 08月08日


@ (at)

Mariano Prato and Carol Jelinek wrote:
Does the @ sign have a name other than just the at sign? Do you have some information about its meaning? I could not find it in dictionaries, and Internet translations give the same symbol back as a response.
The poor little symbol @ has so many names that it has only been in the last few years that people have felt confident calling it anything at all. The symbol is used in e-mail addresses to separate the user name from the domain name, as in: mavens@randomhouse.com. In English, most people call it the at sign or at, commercial at or commat (named by the International Telecommunications Union), and less frequently, the address symbol, strudel, whirlpool, rose, or cabbage. In those long-ago days when not everyone had e-mail, the @symbol was frequently used by businesses to mean 'each' or 'apiece', as in "door hinges @ $1.95" or "3 avocados @ $0.75 = $2.25." Across the world, you may hear it called arroba (Spanish weight measure of 25 pounds), zavinac (Czech for 'rollmop'), arobase (French from the Spanish arroba), snabel-a (Danish for 'a' with an attached elephant's trunk'), chiocciola (Italian for 'snail'), Klammeraffe (German for 'clinging monkey'), sobachka (Russian for 'small dog'), hsiao lao shu (Taiwanese dialectal variant meaning 'little mouse'), or apestaartje (Dutch for 'small ape tail').

So how did this 25 pound monkey tail, elephant trunk, dog-snail-mouse thing work its way into our e-mail? Well, the symbol first popped up as a substitute for the Latin ad, meaning 'at'. Over the years @ has had a few jobs, but none were as well known as its current global Internet identity. Still, it must have been useful enough to put on the keyboard of the first typewriters, back in the 19th century. As one of these standard typewriter symbols, it also made the cut in 1961 for inclusion as one of the special characters in the ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) set.

And so we come to a fateful night in 1972, when Ray Tomlinson, an engineer on the ARPANet (precursor to the Internet), was writing protocol for e-mail programs. Tomlinson was looking for a mark to separate the user's name from the user's location. He needed a symbol already on the keyboard and coded in the ASCII set. The symbol also had to be distinguishable from the letters of the user's name. He chose @.

Today the use of @ to mean 'at' has spread from e-mail through chat rooms and even onto paper (although always in the most informal of circumstances). And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the story of the tiny snail-shell monkey-tail rollmop that used to sell avocados and door hinges but now channels global information and technology.




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