Symbol, Semantics, Design: Unicode for “e.g.” (exempli gratia)
Just replaced all occurrences of “e.g.” in my writings to “ℯℊ”. There's about one thousand replacements.
- ℯ (U+212F: SCRIPT SMALL E)
- ℊ (U+210A: SCRIPT SMALL G)
Why? The “full stop” (aka “period”) symbol should be used only for sentence end, full stop! Ideally, each symbol should have only one single purpose, context free. So, i want to get rid of the dots in “e.g.”, but writing just “eg” is a bit intrusive. That is, it's not easy to understand.
So, a better solution is to find a standard symbol that represent the “e.g.”. For example, in Letterlike Symbols (Unicode block). Been trying to find a dedicated Unicode symbol for the Latin “exempli gratia”, but it doesn't seem to exist.
Then, i tried several alternatives, but none are satisfactory. Replacing them by full word “for example” is too long. And “example” is also too long, but also there the meaning is slightly different. “e.g.” is “for example”, and usually followed by short concrete examples. While, “Example”, is more of a single full example.
Then, i thought of the abbrev “ex”. It's not good because it has too many meanings. For example, it may read as the letter X, which is a common name to many things (for example: Xmas, X-man, X-window, eXtreme, etc), and can mean like “ex-boyfriend”. The “ex.” itself has a ending dot issue. The “ex.” itself isn't in common practice.
Also tried the Unicode arrow:
➲ (U+27B2: CIRCLED HEAVY WHITE RIGHTWARDS ARROW).
For example, “many fruits have color yellow (➲ banana, pineapple.)”. But this is cryptic in becoming, the approachment of symbolic logic.
So, for now, i've settled on “ℯℊ”. So far, my feeling towards it is it's not bad.
Actually, the use of “e.g.” is kinda passé. It's mostly used in academic writing, and i think it also dwindled in past 2 decades. It's there because scientific publications used to be in Latin — the lingua franca of science (as French for the elite, aristocrats, and English for the plebeians, philistines.). I picked up “e.g.” in the early 1990s, when i was reading lots math. Then, i noticed in past few years, i developed a particular style of writing, with lots nested parenthesis and lots “e.g.” inside parenthesis (example: like this (or even this!)). However, “e.g.” is one of those fart of highbrowism. i.e. you don't need it, really. (and you don't need “i.e.” neither. (they are there to make a impression on readers about your erudition, most excellently done by academicians)) In my writings, there are 2 types. One is technical exposition (example: my programing tutorials). There, i wish to impart info without the nonsense of belles-lettres. The other type, is essays, aka rants, where i sway and spin run-on sentences and whatnot to convey, insult, expose, ridicule. So, in my tech writing, there's really no place for “e.g.”, but i've already used it a lot and find it convenient. A real better solution that fits my principle is to completely get rid of any “e.g.” in my tech writings. Rewrite to avoid it, or simply spell out “For example, …”. O, but that's so verbose. Maybe i'll decide to do that in the future. (the one advantage of using unique symbol for unique meaning is that i can simply replace all occurrence of “ℯℊ” to “for example” if i decide to do so in the future. (except when it happens in meta-usage, like this page.))
For examples of articles with lots of “ℯℊ” (as of today), see:
- 38 W3C Proposed Icons for Internet before Unicode
- 21 Math Notation, Proof System, Computer Algebra, in One Language
- 19 Fundamental Problems of Lisp
- 15 Problems of Symbol Congestion in Computer Languages; ASCII Jam vs Unicode
- 10 Syntax Design: Use of Unicode Matching Brackets as Specialized Delimiters
- 10 Understanding Public-Key Cryptography for Beginner
- 9 The Roadmap to Completely Replace Emacs's Key System
also of interest is that, in Google Chrome or Safari browser, you can type just “eg” and it'll find “ℯℊ”. See: Unicode Character Equivalence Support in Web Browsers.
Other symbols to consider as symbol for “e.g.”:
- ⁑ U+2051: TWO ASTERISKS ALIGNED VERTICALLY
- ⁕ U+2055: FLOWER PUNCTUATION MARK
- ⁖ U+2056: THREE DOT PUNCTUATION
- ⁘ U+2058: FOUR DOT PUNCTUATION
- ⁙ U+2059: FIVE DOT PUNCTUATION
- ⁛ U+205B: FOUR DOT MARK
- ⁜ U+205C: DOTTED CROSS
- ⥵ U+2975: RIGHTWARDS ARROW ABOVE ALMOST EQUAL TO
- ⥱ U+2971: EQUALS SIGN ABOVE RIGHTWARDS ARROW
Here's how they look like in normal sized font: ⁑ ⁕ ⁘ ⁙ ⁛ ⁜ ⥵ ⥱.
Prosody, Symbols, Idiosyncrasy
About a month ago, i decided to replace all use of “e.g.” on my site to the Unicode “ℯℊ”.
But now, it's like The Tell-Tale Heart, i confess, i can no longer tolerate my incorrect use of symbols. The scripted e ℯ is usually used for Euler's number in math. The scripted g ℊ has no popular designated meaning. They in no way means “exempli gratia”. So, now i decided to replace them all to the more symbolic
⁖ U+2056: THREE DOT PUNCTUATION
My writing's already filled with willful eyesore to the establishment. [see The Writing Style of Xah Lee] What's with just one more symbolic idiosyncrazy?
The Failure of Flying Against Convention
In 2013, I replaced all “e.g.” to the Unicode ⁖ (U+2056: THREE DOT PUNCTUATION), in my articles.
Now, i replaced all back. Mostly to “for example”.
Reason: against convention is just not gonna fly. And, for Search Engine Optimization issue, search engine don't like it.
- Syntax Semantics Design: Use of Unicode Ellipsis Symbol vs Dot Dot Dot
- Problems of Symbol Congestion in Computer Languages; ASCII Jam vs Unicode
- Syntax Design: Use of Unicode Matching Brackets as Specialized Delimiters
- Unicode Semantics: the ∀ in Turn A Gundam
- Semantics of Symbols: Examples Unicode Symbols Usage
- URL Percent Encoding and Unicode
- HTML Entities, Ampersand, Unicode, Semantics
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