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>;
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. There are more culture wars over the correct
pronunciation of this character than any other, which has led to
the ha ha only serious suggestion that it be pronounced
`shibboleth' (see Judges 12.6 in an Old Testament or
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
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
the assumption that ASCII is the universal character set and that
characters have 7 bits; this is 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.