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Jargon File on "ASCII" and "ASCII art"

Date: Sat, 09 Apr 94 21:41:11 GMT
From: paulf_manor_demon_co_uk (Paul Fawcett)

   The following is an excerpt from the Jargon File.


:ASCII:: [American Standard Code for Information Interchange]
   /as'kee/ n. The predominant character set encoding of present-day
   computers.  The modern version uses 7 bits for each character,
   whereas most earlier codes (including an early version of ASCII)
   used fewer.  This change allowed the inclusion of lowercase letters
   --- a major {win} --- but it did not provide for accented
   letters or any other letterforms not used in English (such as the
   German sharp-S
   or the ae-ligature
   which is a letter in, for example, Norwegian).  It could be worse,
   though.  It could be much worse.  See {{EBCDIC}} to understand how.


   This list derives from revision 2.3 of the USENET ASCII
   pronunciation guide.  Single characters are listed in ASCII order;
   character pairs are sorted in by first member.  For each character,
   common names are given in rough order of popularity, followed by
   names that are reported but rarely seen; official ANSI/CCITT names
   are surrounded by brokets: <>.  Square brackets mark the
   particularly silly names introduced by {INTERCAL}.  The
   abbreviations "l/r" and "o/c" stand for left/right and
   "open/close" respectively.  Ordinary parentheticals provide some
   usage information.

     !
          Common: {bang}; pling; excl; shriek; <exclamation mark>.
          Rare: factorial; exclam; smash; cuss; boing; yell; wow; hey;
          wham; eureka; [spark-spot]; soldier.

     "
          Common: double quote; quote.  Rare: literal mark;
          double-glitch; <quotation marks>; <dieresis>; dirk;
          [rabbit-ears]; double prime.

     #
          Common: number sign; pound; pound sign; hash; sharp; {crunch};
          hex; [mesh].  Rare: grid; crosshatch; octothorpe; flash;
          <square>, pig-pen; tictactoe; scratchmark; thud; thump;
          {splat}.

     $
          Common: dollar; <dollar sign>.  Rare: currency symbol; buck;
          cash; string (from BASIC); escape (when used as the echo of
          ASCII ESC); ding; cache; [big money].

     %
          Common: percent; <percent sign>; mod; grapes.  Rare:
          [double-oh-seven].

     &
          Common: <ampersand>; amper; and.  Rare: address (from C);
          reference (from C++); andpersand; bitand; background (from
          `sh(1)'); pretzel; amp.  [INTERCAL called this `ampersand';
          what could be sillier?]

     '
          Common: single quote; quote; <apostrophe>.  Rare: prime;
          glitch; tick; irk; pop; [spark]; <closing single quotation
          mark>; <acute accent>.

     ( )

          Common: l/r paren; l/r parenthesis; left/right; open/close;
          paren/thesis; o/c paren; o/c parenthesis; l/r parenthesis; l/r
          banana.  Rare: so/already; lparen/rparen; <opening/closing
          parenthesis>; o/c round bracket, l/r round bracket,
          [wax/wane]; parenthisey/unparenthisey; l/r ear.

     *
          Common: star; [{splat}]; <asterisk>.  Rare: wildcard; gear;
          dingle; mult; spider; aster; times; twinkle; glob (see
          {glob}); {Nathan Hale}.

     +
          Common: <plus>; add.  Rare: cross; [intersection].

     ,
          Common: <comma>.  Rare: <cedilla>; [tail].

     -
          Common: dash; <hyphen>; <minus>.  Rare: [worm]; option; dak;
          bithorpe.

     .
          Common: dot; point; <period>; <decimal point>.  Rare: radix
          point; full stop; [spot].

     /
          Common: slash; stroke; <slant>; forward slash.  Rare:
          diagonal; solidus; over; slak; virgule; [slat].

     :
          Common: <colon>.  Rare: dots; [two-spot].

     ;
          Common: <semicolon>; semi.  Rare: weenie; [hybrid],
          pit-thwong.

     < >
          Common: <less/greater than>; bra/ket; l/r angle; l/r angle
          bracket; l/r broket.  Rare: from/{into, towards}; read
          from/write to; suck/blow; comes-from/gozinta; in/out;
          crunch/zap (all from UNIX); [angle/right angle].

     =
          Common: <equals>; gets; takes.  Rare: quadrathorpe;
          [half-mesh].

     ?
          Common: query; <question mark>; {ques}.  Rare: whatmark;
          [what]; wildchar; huh; hook; buttonhook; hunchback.

     @
          Common: at sign; at; strudel.  Rare: each; vortex; whorl;
          [whirlpool]; cyclone; snail; ape; cat; rose; cabbage;
          <commercial at>.

     V
          Rare: [book].

     [ ]
          Common: l/r square bracket; l/r bracket; <opening/closing
          bracket>; bracket/unbracket.  Rare: square/unsquare; [U turn/U
          turn back].

     \
          Common: backslash; escape (from C/UNIX); reverse slash; slosh;
          backslant; backwhack.  Rare: bash; <reverse slant>; reversed
          virgule; [backslat].

     ^
          Common: hat; control; uparrow; caret; <circumflex>.  Rare:
          chevron; [shark (or shark-fin)]; to the (`to the power of');
          fang; pointer (in Pascal).

     _
          Common: <underline>; underscore; underbar; under.  Rare:
          score; backarrow; skid; [flatworm].

     `
          Common: backquote; left quote; left single quote; open quote;
          <grave accent>; grave.  Rare: backprime; [backspark];
          unapostrophe; birk; blugle; back tick; back glitch; push;
          <opening single quotation mark>; quasiquote.

     { }
          Common: o/c brace; l/r brace; l/r squiggly; l/r squiggly
          bracket/brace; l/r curly bracket/brace; <opening/closing
          brace>.  Rare: brace/unbrace; curly/uncurly; leftit/rytit; l/r
          squirrelly; [embrace/bracelet].

     |
          Common: bar; or; or-bar; v-bar; pipe; vertical bar.  Rare:
          <vertical line>; gozinta; thru; pipesinta (last three from
          UNIX); [spike].

     ~
          Common: <tilde>; squiggle; {twiddle}; not.  Rare: approx;
          wiggle; swung dash; enyay; [sqiggle (sic)].

   The pronunciation of `#' as `pound' is common in the U.S.
   but a bad idea; {{Commonwealth Hackish}} has its own, rather more
   apposite use of `pound sign' (confusingly, on British keyboards
   the pound graphic
   happens to replace `#'; thus Britishers sometimes
   call `#' on a U.S.-ASCII keyboard `pound', compounding the
   American error).  The U.S. usage derives from an old-fashioned
   commercial practice of using a `#' suffix to tag pound weights
   on bills of lading.  The character is usually pronounced `hash'
   outside the U.S.

   The `uparrow' name for circumflex and `leftarrow' name for
   underline are historical relics from archaic ASCII (the 1963
   version), which had these graphics in those character positions
   rather than the modern punctuation characters.

   The `swung dash' or `approximation' sign is not quite the same
   as tilde in typeset material
   but the ASCII tilde serves for both (compare {angle
   brackets}).

   Some other common usages cause odd overlaps.  The `#',
   `$', `>', and `&' characters, for example, are all
   pronounced "hex" in different communities because various
   assemblers use them as a prefix tag for hexadecimal constants (in
   particular, `#' in many assembler-programming cultures,
   `$' in the 6502 world, `>' at Texas Instruments, and
   `&' on the BBC Micro, Sinclair, and some Z80 machines).  See
   also {splat}.

   The inability of ASCII text to correctly represent any of the
   world's other major languages makes the designers' choice of 7 bits
   look more and more like a serious {misfeature} as the use of
   international networks continues to increase (see {software
   rot}).  Hardware and software from the U.S. still tends to embody
   the assumption that ASCII is the universal character set and that
   characters have 7 bits; this is a a major irritant to people who
   want to use a character set suited to their own languages.
   Perversely, though, efforts to solve this problem by proliferating
   `national' character sets produce an evolutionary pressure to use
   a *smaller* subset common to all those in use.



:ASCII art: n. The fine art of drawing diagrams using the ASCII
   character set (mainly `|', `-', `/', `\', and
   `+').  Also known as `character graphics' or `ASCII
   graphics'; see also {boxology}.  Here is a serious example:


         o----)||(--+--|<----+   +---------o + D O
           L  )||(  |        |   |             C U
         A I  )||(  +-->|-+  |   +-\/\/-+--o -   T
         C N  )||(        |  |   |      |        P
           E  )||(  +-->|-+--)---+--)|--+-o      U
              )||(  |        |          | GND    T
         o----)||(--+--|<----+----------+

         A power supply consisting of a full wave rectifier circuit
         feeding a capacitor input filter circuit

                               Figure 1.

   And here are some very silly examples:


       |\/\/\/|     ____/|              ___    |\_/|    ___
       |      |     \ o.O|   ACK!      /   \_  |` '|  _/   \
       |      |      =(_)=  THPHTH!   /      \/     \/      \
       | (o)(o)        U             /                       \
       C      _)  (__)                \/\/\/\  _____  /\/\/\/
       | ,___|    (oo)                       \/     \/
       |   /       \/-------\         U                  (__)
      /____\        ||     | \    /---V  `v'-            oo )
     /      \       ||---W||  *  * |--|   || |`.         |_/\

                    //-o-\\
             ____---=======---____
         ====___\   /.. ..\   /___====      Klingons rule OK!
       //        ---\__O__/---        \\
       \_\                           /_/

                               Figure 2.

   There is an important subgenre of ASCII art that puns on the
   standard character names in the fashion of a rebus.

     +--------------------------------------------------------+
     |      ^^^^^^^^^^^^                                      |
     | ^^^^^^^^^^^            ^^^^^^^^^                       |
     |                 ^^^^^^^^^^^^^            ^^^^^^^^^^^^^ |
     |        ^^^^^^^         B       ^^^^^^^^^               |
     |  ^^^^^^^^^          ^^^            ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^      |
     +--------------------------------------------------------+
                  " A Bee in the Carrot Patch "

                               Figure 3.

   Within humorous ASCII art, there is for some reason an entire
   flourishing subgenre of pictures of silly cows.  Four of these are
   reproduced in Figure 2; here are three more:


              (__)              (__)              (__)
              (\/)              ($$)              (**)
       /-------\/        /-------\/        /-------\/
      / | 666 ||        / |=====||        / |     ||
     *  ||----||       *  ||----||       *  ||----||
        ~~    ~~          ~~    ~~          ~~    ~~
     Satanic cow    This cow is a Yuppie   Cow in love

                               Figure 4.
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