In my capacity as the administrator of a data mining contest (I’ve included a link to said contest, even though I assume that very few people are interested both in rambling diatribes about grammar and in the issue of classifying data based on only a positively-labelled training set), I ended up having to look up information about how to properly call the language of Slovenia (Slovene and Slovenian are apparently both acceptable). For reasons I’ve since forgotten, this made me interested in the early history of the Cyrillic alphabet, so where else should I turn but Wikipedia, which has a tremendous table detailing the letters of the early Cyrillic alphabet? If you follow that link and scroll down a bit, you’ll see a letter that is called an “ornate omega”, which apparently “would seem to be used in interjections, especially before vocatives.” It looks like this: . To be honest, I figured this had to be a joke — a symbol that looks exactly like a face yelling something being used in vocatives (an expression identifying the addressee)? It would be like if English adopted “:D” as a variant of capital D in excited sentences and :( as a variant of capital C in sad sentences.

(1) I can’t believe we get to go to :Disneyland today!
(2) I didn’t get to go to the :(ow Palace when I was in San Francisco.

(I just might start doing this.) Anyway, I was unsure if I should believe in this “ornate omega” stuff, but then I found a similar omega variant in a version of the Slavonic alphabet: Another omega So maybe those 10th century monks were on to something. It’s unclear whether this was an early version of emoticons or an early version of a theme font. Either way, I’d like to buy those monks a beer, except for the fact that they probably wouldn’t be allowed to drink a beer, and they’re probably dead by now. So it goes.

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