[texhax] "@" : vowel or glottal stop ? (was : Some puzzling TeX)

Barbara Beeton bnb at ams.org
Thu Feb 24 15:57:44 CET 2011

On Thu, 24 Feb 2011, Paul Isambert wrote:

    Le 24/02/2011 00:09, Martin Schr?der a ?crit :
    > 2011/2/23 Uwe Lueck<uwe.lueck at web.de>:
    > > broadcast by River Valley. The script appears in TUGboat
    > Shouldn't that be a TUGbo@ ? :-)
    > I'm wondering: Has anybody ever asked DEK about the choice of @ in one
    > of his Q&A's?

    As you might have noticed, I'm not DEK. However, here are some reasonable
    hypotheses about the choice of @:

    Given ASCII, alternatives are:
    - $ and _, but they're already in use for other purposes; same for #, &...;
    - The hyphen - is out of the question otherwise dimension assignements
    would be impossible;
    - ? and ! are already used in ConTeXt, and probably DEK wanted to make a
    - The vertical bar | would have been nice, but then its role in
    Indo-European graphemics is far from clear.
    - Hence @. QED.

i'm not dek either ...

another point that i think is important:
dek chose to use the vertical bar as the
alternate escape character for verbatim
(texbook, p.382); the use of |...| for
"short verbatim" was also his idea,
although that's not documented in the
						-- bb

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