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英语文化:你知道@符号的来历么?

2016-03-11    来源:iyuba    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

英语文化:你知道@符号的来历么?

The @ character is the symbol of the internet age, crucial for emails and social networking. But no-one really knows where it came from, writes Claire Bates.
@符号是网络时代的象征,对电子邮件和社交网络至关重要,但没人真正了解它的出处,克莱尔贝茨写道。
 
The "at sign" was once an obscure symbol known only to book-keepers. That changed thanks to Ray Tomlinson, the man widely regarded as the inventor of the email.
这个"@"曾经只是薄记员使用的模糊不清的符号。多亏了电子邮件的发明者-雷汤姆林森,这种状况才得以改变。
 
He plucked it from his keyboard in 1971 to go between the user name and destination address when sending a message between two computers in his office. Tomlinson chose @ because it was then rarely used in computing, so wouldn’t confuse early programs or operating systems. In a happy coincidence, the English name of the symbol was already "at".
1971年,他从键盘上借用这个符号放在用户名和目标地址之间,在办公室的两台电脑上发送信息。汤姆林森之所以选择@这个符号,是因为那时候这个符号在电脑语言中很少出现,不会搅乱原先的程序或操作系统。巧合的是,这个符号的英文名正是"at"。
 
"The @ symbol appeared on typewriters before the end of the 19th Century," says Keith Houston, author of Shady Characters: Secret Life of Punctuation. "It seemed to be a general symbol that meant to readers ’this is this many items at this price’. It didn’t have a use beyond this."
“19世纪末期前,打字机中出现了@符号,”《秘密字符:标点符号的秘密生活》的作者凯斯休斯敦说。“它似乎只是一个通用符号,对读者来说意味着‘这个价格有这么多东西’。除此以外别无他用。”
 
As typewriters had it, so did the first proper keyboards for computers.
由于打字机有这个符号,首个用于电脑的键盘也加了这个符号。
 
"The @ symbol made it on to keyboards because it was a business tool and had a business use," says Houston.
“@符号继续出现在键盘上,因为它作为商业工具有着商业用途。”休斯敦说。
 
Those business users understood it as a symbol to indicate unit price eg 12 batteries @ 1 pound each.
商人们把它看成表示单价的符号,如12节电池@每节1英镑。
 
In 2000, the Italian academic Girogio Stabile observed that many nations use different words for the @ symbol that describe how it looks. In Turkish it means "rose", while in Norwegian it means "pig’s tail". In Greek it is "duckling", while in Hungarian it is "worm".
2000年,意大利学者希奥尔希奥斯塔比莱注意到,不同国家用不同的字来表示@符号,来描述它的样子。在土耳其它意味着“玫瑰”;在挪威它的意思是“猪尾巴”;希腊语中,它是“鸭子”;而在匈牙利,它代表“虫子”。
 
But Stabile noticed in French, Spanish and Portuguese, it referred to arobase or arroba - a unit of weight and volume. In Italian the name for the symbol was "amphora", referring to long-necked pottery storage jars that had been used since ancient times.
但斯塔比莱同时发现,在法语、西班牙语和葡萄牙语中,这个符号指的是阿罗瓦-重量和体积的计量单位。意大利语中这个符号是"amphora",意思是长颈陶瓷储物罐,从古代沿用至今。
 
Stabile discovered a letter sent from Seville to Rome in 1536, which discussed the arrival in Spain of three ships sailing from the New World. It stated that an amphora of wine was sold and "amphora" was replaced with the @ symbol as an abbreviation. Stabile concluded the @ symbol was a common medieval shorthand for units of measure in southern Europe, even if the precise units differed.

斯塔比莱发现了一封1536年从塞维利亚寄到罗马的信件,信中讨论了从新大陆驶来西班牙的三艘船。里面写着“卖出了一amphora酒”,而“amphora”则用@符号简写。斯塔比莱得出结论:@符号是南欧一种古老的计量单位缩写方法,尽管具体的单位各不相同。
 
Spanish journalist Jorge Romance then found an even earlier use. "I read about the 16th Century example of @ and remembered I had seen the symbol before when I was a history student at the University of Zaragoza. I went through my old papers and found customs records between Aragon and Castile in the 15th Century. It meant ’arroba’ as a weight measure, and in this instance one arroba of wheat."

接着西班牙记者豪尔赫罗曼塞发现了更早的用途。“我读着16世纪关于@的例子,忽然记起来我在萨拉戈萨大学历史系读书时看过这个符号。我翻遍了以前的论文,找到了15世纪时位于亚拉贡和卡斯提尔之间的风俗记录。它意思是‘阿罗瓦’,重量单位,这种情况下意味着一阿罗瓦小麦。”
 
But the earliest yet discovered reference to the @ symbol is a religious one. It features in a 1345 Bulgarian translation of a Greek chronicle. Held today in the Vatican Apostolic Library, it features the @ symbol in place of the A in the word Amen. Why it was used in this context is a mystery.
但最早发现@的资料是关于宗教的。它在希腊编年史1345年版的保加利亚译文中出现。这部书目前存于梵蒂冈图书馆,它用@符号代替“阿门”中的字母A。而为何如此使用却仍然是个谜。
 
It seems fitting then that the first email to be sent with the @ symbol has also been lost to time. When Tomlinson sent the first message to tomlinson@bbn.tenexa, he didn’t realise what a game-changer it would be and so didn’t bother writing it down.
而首封用@符号发送的电子邮件随着时间流逝而渐渐被人淡忘,也不足为怪。当汤姆林森向tomlinson@bbt.tenexa发送第一封邮件时,他并没意识到这是怎样一个具有改变意义的事情,所以并没有把它记下来。



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