Emails and hyphens and little snails? Oh my!

Lesson: Recent AP style changes

This is going to be a tough change for me. Since I took high school typing class, every time I go to type the word email, my finger automatically treks to the hyphen key. But now it has to make the long trek back, all alone and feeling a little rejected. Sob!

That’s right. The style czars at the Associated Press Stylebook have taken away the humble hyphen in email for their 2011 edition, due out this summer. This follows a trend of disappearing hyphens, which The Chicago Manual of Style’s blogger, the Subversive Copy Editor, humorously discusses here.

Other AP Style changes
–  Cellphones and smartphones are no longer two words.
– The abbreviation CPR no longer requires the full name, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, to be included on first reference.
– The Indian city of Calcutta is now spelled Kolkata to match native spelling.

More fun hyphen-less email knowledge
Yesterday I bought a delightful book by Martin H. Manser called The Secret Life of the English Language. Manser devotes a section to foreign words for @. While we know this symbol as the at sign, people in other countries have much more colorful monikers. Here’s a sampling:

Country Foreign word Meaning
China siu lo tsu little mouse
Finland miukumauku the sign of the meow
France petit escargot little snail
Hungary kukac maggot
Russia sobachka little dog
Spain ensaimada spiral-shaped bagel

Fun fact: The French word émailler may look like it means “to email,” but it actually means “to enamel.” The correct French word for email is courriel.

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