The First ?

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Does anyone else think the question mark is the most beautiful of all punctuation marks?

Well, the very first question mark may have looked more like a colon. Discovered in Syriac manuscripts of the Bible from the fifth century, the double dot symbol is placed above a word near the beginning of a sentence to indicate to the reader that it is a question. It may not be as aesthetically appealing as today’s symbol, but it does has a superior name: “zawga elaya.”

(Via Languagehat via Maud Newton)


Lisa Dusenbery is the managing editor of The Rumpus. More from this author →