The rise of the ampersand?
This article on the rising use of the ampersand comes with the good and the bad.
There is the interesting information:
The ampersand symbol is a combination of the letters "et," which is Latin for "and." In an article by award-winning design consultant Max Caflisch on the Adobe Systems Inc. Web site (www.adobe.co.uk/type/topics/theampersan d.html) he writes that "one of the first examples of an ampersand (is) on a piece of papyrus from about 45 A.D." The ligature became a standard device for calligraphers and its use spread with the invention of printing in the early 15th century. And it has recently been adopted by computer programmers.And the not-so-interesting:
According to Word-detective.com, the term ampersand "comes from the practice once common in schools of reciting all 26 letters of the alphabet followed by the "&" sign, pronounced 'and,' which was considered part of the alphabet." This recitation ended in the words "per se," as was common to signal that a letter could be used as a word itself. Thus the phrase "and, per se" evolved into "ampersand" and "crept into common English usage by around 1837," according to Word-detective.com.
Hollywood has a new symbol to which standard rules of usage and reference do not appear to apply. It has crept from the corporate and commercial world that was its natural domain into the mainstream, text-driven, keyboard-and-cell-phone culture with the speed of the Nike swoosh and the stealth of kudzu.The article quotes Bryan Garner, but I can't imagine he didn't have anything more interesting to say than this:
It is called the ampersand, and it is out to conquer the world. ...
"It's such a long word for such a short symbol," says Erica Olsen, a copy editor at the California College of the Arts.
When asked if it is a symbol or a word, modern usage authority Bryan Garner, editor of Black's Law Dictionary and Garner's Modern American Usage, describes it as "a symbol for a word." Its rise, he says, is part of the movement toward grammatical economy where "saving characters is very much at a premium," he says.But the symbol isn't covered in "Modern American Usage" from what I can see.
By the way, I didn't see a thing in that piece that convinced me that the use of the ampersand was indeed on the rise. And I'll keep you posted on any articles involving the rise of the virgule (which I do believe is happening), the octothorpe or the interrobang.