Unusual typographical symbols [was: A 1648 "smiley face"]

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Wed Apr 16 00:40:49 UTC 2014

At 4/15/2014 07:05 PM, Christopher Philippo wrote:
>I wouldn't have thought a search for typographical symbols would
>necessarily work.  Given that it is, could a search be done for ":)"
>where that is not preceded by an open parenthesis "("?

I gather that the search by Benjamin Schmidt that Ben Zimmer refers
to is in a database that retains punctuation symbols as searchable
characters.  Unlike Google Books (and, perhaps, EEBO and ECCO).  So
:) can be found.  However, I'm unable to think of a useful
proposition (wild card search) that would find ":) not preceded by
(".  How far back would one have to go, and what preceding characters
would be permitted or excluded?

>If anyone is or knows someone who can identify uncommon
>typographical symbols:
>In particular I'm looking to identify the cursive P-like character
>that's the second character in the second row and which reappears a
>few times throughout, and the Pi-like symbol with an upward-curving
>tail on its right leg that's the first character in the second
>row.  I regret I don't have a better copy of the image at present.

What is the date of this prototype for a poem?  Can you get an enlargement?

Perhaps the "cursive p-like character" is one of the "special marks
for abbreviations" used in transcriptions of early modern manuscripts
-- a lower case p with a bar through the descender, which would stand
for "per", "par", "pur", or "pear".  I'm sure there are more readable
lists, but the one I know of is "Records of the Colony of New
Plymouth", vol. 1, page v, here:

I don't know what to make of the "Pi-like symbol with an
upward-curving tail".  It's too indistinct for me.


>Christopher K. Philippo
>The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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