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August 30, 2007

Interrobang‽


Pues escuchando un podcast me enteré de la existencia de una de las cosas más increíbles del mundo: el interrobang:




The invention of the interrobang

American Martin K. Speckter concocted the interrobang in 1962. As the head of an advertising agency, Speckter believed that advertisements would look better if copywriters conveyed surprised rhetorical questions using a single mark. He proposed the concept of a single punctuation mark in an article in the magazine TYPEtalks. Speckter solicited possible names for the new character from readers. Contenders included rhet, exclarotive, and exclamaquest, but he settled on interrobang. He chose the name to reference the punctuation marks that inspired it: interrogatio is Latin for "a rhetorical question" or "cross-examination"; bang is printers' slang for the exclamation point. Graphic treatments for the new mark were also submitted in response to the article.

In 1966, Richard Isbell of American Type Founders issued the Americana typeface and included the interrobang as one of the characters. In 1968, an interrobang key was available on some Remington typewriters. During the 1970s, it was possible to buy replacement interrobang keycaps and strikers for some Smith-Corona typewriters. The interrobang was in vogue for much of the 1960s, with the word 'interrobang' appearing in some dictionaries and the mark itself being featured in magazine and newspaper articles.

The interrobang failed to amount to much more than a fad, however. It has not become a standard punctuation mark. Although most fonts do not include the interrobang, it has not disappeared: Microsoft provides several versions of the interrobang character as part of the Wingdings 2 character set ( on the }/] and the ~/` keys) available with Microsoft Office. It was accepted into Unicode and is present in the fonts Lucida Sans Unicode and Arial Unicode MS, among others.

En francés se le dice Point exclarrogatif. Si alguien sabe cómo se le dice en español, por favor dígame. Y bueno, traten de usar este signo de puntuación, que es hermoso.

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