Happy New Year! I’ve decided to kick off 2014 by talking about the Interrobang, a punctuation mark I didn’t know existed until a few days ago. It combines the question mark and exclamation point, making it the perfect choice for incredulity and my new favorite discovery. How did I not know about it before now?!?!?!
The interrobang was brought to my attention as I was reading Kate Hattemer‘s YA novel, The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy, which comes out this spring. Sadly, I am not at liberty to discuss it until my review runs in Booklist, but, suffice it to say, I loved it and will post a review later.
According to Merriam-Webster‘s online dictionary, the interrobang is “a punctuation mark ‽ designed for use especially at the end of an exclamatory rhetorical question” that finds its origin in “interrogation (point) + bang (printers’ slang for exclamation point).” It also rhymes with orangutan (and bangarang, for any Hook fans out there). Further searching revealed that it was invented by Martin K. Speckter in 1962 and was popularly used during the 1960s. It even found its way onto a few Remington type writers at the time, though its inclusion was short-lived. While the interrobang hasn’t become a standardized keyboard offering, it is still included by some computer typefaces, such as Lucida Grande, Calibri, and good old Wingdings–Wingdings 2, actually.
Who else is talking about the interrobang?
- GOOD: “The Culture of the Interrobang” by Anne Trubek
- The New Yorker: “Introducing the Interrobang” by Deirdre Foley-Mendelssohn
- John Green: “This is an Interrobang”
- Wikipedia: “Interrobang”