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Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446  
22 Nov 2008 /  #1
Anyone know how małpa came to mean the at-sign (@) in Polish? Some say the symbol is perceived as a little animal (monkey) with its tail wrapped round. Anyone know what the at-sign is called in German, Russian, Serbian, French, Spanish, Italian?
LondonChick 31 | 1,133  
22 Nov 2008 /  #2
German is Affenklammer - literal translation is monkey bracket.

Russian is Sobaka... sorry, can't write cyrilic on here, but it means dog.

French - arobase, though no idea of the literal meaning.

Swedish is snabel-a, which literally means "A with a trunk"

I've heard that the Finnish translation means "cat".

You'd really want me in your pub quiz team :)
Wroclaw Boy  
22 Nov 2008 /  #3
To be blatantly honest who gives a flying fcuk, Monkey means @ thats it......
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
22 Nov 2008 /  #4
God gave you eyes, use them!!
Marek 4 | 867  
22 Nov 2008 /  #5
As usual, Polish, German, Swedish etc. win out on descriptive directness! The 'at-sign' is only useful as a label if the user knows at @ stands for 'at' in English -:) It does in fact look curiously like a paw print now, doesn't it!
OP Polonius3 1,000 | 12,446  
24 Nov 2008 /  #6
The @ sign is relatively new to many nations and dates from the start of the computer era, but it has been on typewriters in the English-speaking world for a century. Its normal pre-computer use was something like: 5 boxes of chocloates @ ₤3.79. Polish has used the French grave-accented à for that purpose: 5 bombonierek à 12.50zł.
LondonChick 31 | 1,133  
24 Nov 2008 /  #7

Was your OP a rhetorical question?
Bondi 4 | 142  
24 Nov 2008 /  #8
As usual, Polish, German, Swedish etc. win out on descriptive directness!

Quite right that is! Here's one more:
Hungarian: kukac - literally: worm
Marek 4 | 867  
24 Nov 2008 /  #9
--:) Koszi!!
Lorenc 4 | 28  
25 Nov 2008 /  #10
English wikipedia (sorry, I cannot post the address) reports what @ is called in many languages. "Monkey" or "monkey's tail" is apparently a pretty common name for the at sign and is used (or can be used) a part from Polish also in Bulgarian, Croatian, Dutch, German, Macedonian, Romanian, Serbian, Slovenian.

In Italian (I'm Italian) we most commonly call it "chiocciola" (pron.: KJOCZ-czola) which means "snail". The same meaning is apparently used also in Belarusian, Turkish and Ukrainian. Another image associated with @ is an elephant's trunk (Danish, Swedish, Norwegian) and a cat's or a dog's tail. My personal favourites:

The funniest (Finnish): miukumauku "the miaow sign"
The most disgusting (Hungarian): kukac ("worm, mite, or maggot")
The sexiest (Tagalog): utong ("nipple")
Marek 4 | 867  
2 Dec 2008 /  #11
Lorenc, your English is excellent! Most Italian native speakers I encounter have real problems with natural-sounding idiom, not to mention grammar. Then again, perhaps you speak with an accent (even if you don't appear to write with one--:)).

How many other languages so you know? I think if you set your mind to it, you'll do fine with Polish. From experience though, Italian looks far easier for a foreigner than Polish, particularly if the foreign learner's native tongue is one of the Romance languages.
mafketis 25 | 9,307  
2 Dec 2008 /  #12
My favorite term for @ is zavináè (rollmops) from Czech and Slovak.
Seanus 15 | 19,706  
2 Dec 2008 /  #13
Yeah, sb was smoking sth a little stronger than usual that day. Rollmops, yeeugh!

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