Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Wed Aug 1 03:24:15 UTC 2001

At 1:41 PM -0400 7/31/01, Gareth Branwyn wrote:
>"Baker, John" wrote:
>>  The trisyllabic "period" is just too long and awkward.
>This was always my guess as to the reason for its origins (and so as not
>to confuse it with a full stop). Also, in Unix, there is the use of the
>word "bang" for "!" which I always assumed was so that one doesn't have
>to say "exclamation point."

Along the same lines, wonder how long "O" (i.e. [o]) has been used
for zeros by virtue of the same sort of reduction process.
Shakespeare uses "o" for "cipher", i.e. a metaphoric zero--

Lear i. iv. 212 Now thou art an O without a figure, I am better then
thou art now; I am a Foole, thou art nothing.

--but do we know whether zero was read as "o" in multidigit numbers
and dates?  When Lear was first written in 1605, was the date
pronounced "Sixteen oh five"?

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