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“And” Is To Ampersand As “The” Is To…

An Australian restaurateur has proposed that the most commonly used word in the English language get a symbol of its very own, one that’s borrowed from the Serbian Cyrillic alphabet: Ћ.

What’s the Latest Development?

Melbourne-based restaurateur Paul Mathis has decided to take a detour from his normal businesses to offer something he says will save time for English-language texters and tweeters worldwide: a single symbol to stand in for the word “the.” Not only is he suggesting that the word be replaced with “Ћ” — a combination of the first two letters that he pronounces “th” — he is offering a smartphone app with a new keyboard containing the symbol and a row of keys representing the 10 to 15 most frequently-used words in English.

What’s the Big Idea?

For Mathis, reducing the length of the single most frequently-used English word from three characters to one is about efficiency: “The word ‘and’ is only the fifth-most used word in English and it has its own symbol – the ampersand. Isn’t it time we accorded the same respect to ‘the’?” So far, he has been unable to get his app into the Apple App Store, partially because it modifies a key portion of the operating system. Also, he’s received criticism from people who think he’s trying to trademark an already long-used Serbian Cyrillic letter. Still, he plans to press on: “[M]aybe in 500 years’ time people will be amazed that there was a time when we didn’t use ‘th’.”

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Read it at The Age


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