Hyphens & Hashtags*: *The stories behind the symbols on our keyboard (Hardcover)
In our digital world, we owe much of our ability to communicate to the punctuation marks, mathematical symbols, and other glyphs that hover on the edges of our keyboard. Without these symbols, it would be impossible to convey meaning—our words would run in endless unbroken lines of letters and numbers. These marks, which have their origins in the earliest written communications, have evolved over many hundreds of years. Hyphens & Hashtags presents the histories of these stalwart symbols, revealing the long road many have taken on their way to general usage. In the age of digital communication, some symbols have gained additional meanings. The obscure pound sign has transformed into the hashtag, an essential component of social media. The colon now serves double duty as the eyes of the smiley-face emoticon. Alongside the historical roots of these tools, this book also considers ever-evolving modern usage and uncovers those symbols which have now fallen out of fashion. Hyphens & Hashtags casts a well-deserved spotlight on these deceptively simple marks, whose handy knack for conveying meaning in simple shorthand can marshal our sentences, clarify a calculation, or add some much-needed emotion to our online interactions.
Claire Cock-Starkey is a writer and editor based in Cambridge. She is the author of The Book Lovers’ Miscellany, A Library Miscellany, and A Museum Miscellany, all published by the Bodleian Library.