Tuesday, 20 June 2017

♊ | Gemini

(Gemini) is the third astrological sign in the Western zodiac, ruled by the planet Mercury. The sun is in this sign between 21 May and 20 June. Some of the coolest people out there were born under this sign. They are often referred to as “Geminis”, for no good reason. As the word “Gemini” is derived from Latin geminī, which is already plural of geminus (“twin”), there no need in further pluralisation.

The glyph looks like a variant of the Roman numeral Ⅱ, which it most probably is.

More photos related to zodiac and sea glass @ Shutterstock.

Friday, 9 June 2017

糖 | táng

In Mandarin Chinese, (Pinyin: táng 🔊) means “sugar”.

You might recall seeing the left part of this character before. That’s right, it’s (), “rice”. The original meaning of was “sweet rice cake”. The right part, , is here because it is pronounced the same as the whole affair: táng. Most of the original meanings of are obsolete by now, except that for the Tang dynasty.

More photos related to sugar @ Shutterstock.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

ψ | psi

The letter ψ (psi) was yet another Greek addition to the alphabet, placed after the letters of Phoenician origin, along with φ, χ and ω. According to Wikipedia,

The letter’s origin is uncertain. It may or may not derive from the Phoenician alphabet. It appears in the 7th century BC, expressing /ps/ in the Eastern alphabets, but // in the Western alphabets (the sound expressed by Χ in the Eastern alphabets).

The letter ψ has a number of uses in maths and sciences, such as:

More photos of letters, numbers and sea glass @ Shutterstock.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

χ | chi

The letter χ (chi) was a Greek addition to the alphabet, placed after the letters of Phoenician origin, along with φ, ψ and ω. According to Wikipedia,

In Ancient Greek, ‘Χ’ and ‘Ψ’ were among several variants of the same letter, used originally for // and later, in western areas such as Arcadia, as a simplification of the digraph ‘ΧΣ’ for /ks/. In the end, more conservative eastern forms became the standard of Classical Greek, and thus ‘Χ’ (Chi) stands for // (later /x/). However, the Etruscans had taken over ‘Χ’ from western Greek, and it therefore stands for /ks/ in Etruscan and Latin.
The Greek χ gave rise to the Latin X, Gothic enguz 𐍇 and Cyrillic Х.

The lower-case χ has a number of uses in maths and sciences, such as:

More photos of letters, numbers and sea glass @ Shutterstock.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

μ | mu

The Greek letter μ (mu) arose from the ancient Phoenician letter 𐤌 (mēm) which, in turn, was derived from the Egyptian hieroglyph for water.

The lower-case μ has many uses in maths, engineering and sciences, for example:

More photos of letters, numbers and sea glass @ Shutterstock.

Monday, 5 June 2017

盐 | yán

In Mandarin Chinese, (Pinyin: yán 🔊) means “salt”.

If you think it looks complicated, I’ve got news for you: is actually a simplified form of another character. Here:

And here’s a small seal script form of this hanzi:

Uncle Hanzi explains its origin as follows:

From salt (a bag of alkaline soil) / substituted with soil and phonetic / [simplified to bowl / and man looking in bowl substituted with ]. Meaning salt.
I hope now everything’s clear.

More photos related to salt @ Shutterstock.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

: | ː

The colon (:) is a punctuation mark used in many ways:

  • to introduce lists (like this one)
  • before a definition
  • before a description
  • to make explicit or expand on something, as exemplified on the following line:
  • in Finnish and Swedish: to indicate possession (playing the role similar to that of the apostrophe in English)
  • before an explanation or an example, as shown on the following line
  • to form contractions, as in Swedish: Thomas Gustafsson can be abbreviated as Thomas G:son
  • before direct speech or quotations. For example, Wikipedia says:
    In British English, it was once common for a colon to be followed by a hyphen or dash to indicate a restful pause, in a typographical construction known as the “dog’s bollocks”, though this usage is now discouraged.
  • to introduce spoken words in written dialogues
  • to separate a title and subtitle of a work when written the same line
  • in American English: in formal letter writing
  • to separate hours:minutes:seconds when written in numbers
  • to separate chapter:verse in Biblical citations
  • in mathematics and elsewhere to indicate a ratio or a scale
  • in a variety of other ways in mathematics
  • in certain O:B:Sc:U:Re ways in chemical nomenclature
  • in many ::wonderful ways:: in C:\omputing
A triangular colon (ː) is used in International Phonetic Alphabet to mark /mɑːk/ the preceding sound as “long”.

More photos of ink and water drops @ Shutterstock.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

. | 。

The full stop or period (.) is a punctuation mark typically found at the end of a sentence, unless it is a question or exclamation.

In the 3rd century BC, the Greeks developed a punctuation system where ὑποστιγμή (the low dot .) functioned as the modern comma, while στιγμὴ μέση (the interpunct or the middle dot ·) played the role similar to that of the modern semicolon; στιγμὴ τελεία (the high dot ˙) marked the end of a completed thought, like the modern full stop.

Classical Latin had no lower-case letters, interword spacing or punctuation; hovvever·the·interpvnct·vvas·sometimes·vsed·to·separate·vvords

Apart from the ends of sentences, full stops are found after initials, some abbreviations and acronyms. In English-speaking countries, they indicate a decimal point, although in Britain until 1970s they used the interpunct for this purpose.

In Chinese and Japanese, a small circle is used to indicate the end of sentence instead of a solid dot .

More photos of ink and water drops @ Shutterstock.

Friday, 2 June 2017

υ | upsilon

The Greek letter υ (upsilon) was derived from the ancient Phoenician letter 𐤅 (wāw) which meant “hook”. This letter is the most prolific of all Greek alphabet: it gave rise to the Latin letters F, U, V, Y, W as well as Cyrillic Ѵ and У. In the same time, as its upper case Υ is too similar to the Latin Y and lower case too similar to the Latin u and v, it does not make a good mathematical or scientific symbol. In the International Phonetic Alphabet, the lower-case υ is used to represent a labiodental approximant, as in Finnish veli /ˈʋeli/ or Norwegian Stavanger /stɑˈʋɑŋər/.

The letter ʊ (Latin upsilon) was derived from the Greek lower-case υ. It is used in the IPA to represent a near-close near-back rounded vowel, as in English put /pʊt/ or German kurz /kʊrts/.

More photos of letters, numbers and sea glass @ Shutterstock.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

τ | tau

The Greek letter τ (tau) was derived from the ancient Phoenician letter 𐤕 (tāw) which, in turn, was derived from an Egyptian hieroglyph meaning “mark”.

The lower-case τ has many uses in maths, engineering and sciences, such as:

More photos of letters, numbers and sea glass @ Shutterstock.