Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Tue May 12 14:40:05 UTC 2009

At 5/11/2009 11:26 PM, Douglas G. Wilson wrote:
>At G. Books, "caron" is found in a snippet from 1978 (date appears
>probably genuine):

A library catalog has the same date.

>Here the mark is opposed to "caret" in a list of symbols, with
>"circumflex" appearing elsewhere in the list ... I think probably
>indicating that the "caret" and "caron" are not necessarily diacritical
>marks comparable to acute accent etc. Presumably the "caron" here is a
>mark comparable to the usual "caret" (insertion mark).

Perhaps a mark placed above the line, and also
meaning insertion?  Paralleling the caret, used
below the line.  That would support the notion
that the name arose in typography, as some
Googled pages suggest.  But still no clue to the etymology?

>"Caron" also seems to appear in this 1967 style manual (date is possibly
>genuine), without even a snippet available:

By golly, I might even have this in a carton
somewhere!  But perhaps not 1967.  This
publication, or its predecessors,  go back to
1904, when it had the title "Manual of style for
use in composition and proof reading".  22 editions, 15 earlier than 1967.

The Harvard catalog also says the 1904 and 1908
are available from Google Books, but they seem
not to contain "caron".  Perhaps someone else can doublecheck me.

>None of my handy printed dictionaries (including MW2, MW3, RHUD, EB)
>show "caron". Seems like some insertion is in order.

Hah!  (And potentially with two orientations --
er, senses:  insertion mark; diacritical mark.)

Google Books tells me caron is on page 634 in:
Bartlett's Roget's Thesaurus
By John Bartlett, Bartlett's, Little Brown &
Company, Little, Brown and Company Staff
Edition: reprint
Published by Little, Brown and Company, 2003
ISBN 0316735876, 9780316735872


>At a glance, on-line bilingual dictionaries show synonymous "caron" in
>Portuguese and "carĂ³n" in Spanish, nothing apparently cognate elsewhere.

The American Dialect Society -

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