. (dot, point, full stop, period)

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by Youngfun, Oct 26, 2012.

  1. Youngfun

    Youngfun Senior Member

    Bắc Kinh
    Wu Chinese & Italian
    Problably the shortest topic title ever in WR :p

    In English the symbol "." is called dot (as symbol name, in websites or abbreviations), point (decimal point), and when ending sentence it's called full stop in BrE and period in AmE.
    Is that right?
    Why does English distinguish so many names for the "."? Where do all these names come from?

    This confuses very much the Italians, that have only one name for all the 3 cases: punto.
    It's not rare to meet Italians that says: double U double U double U point; or even double U double U double U full stop! Or seven dot five for "7.5".

    In Chinese we use for both dot and decimal point, while the full stop is 句号, called differently simply because it's not a dot but a small circle: ""

    What about other languages? Do you have a unique name for the "." or many names?

    (Don't know if this thread should stay here or be moved to "All languages")
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2012
  2. atcheque

    atcheque mod errant (Fr-En, français, čeština)

    Česko (2009)
    français, France

    In French like in Italian : point, but for decimal we use a comma ",".
  3. Montesacro Senior Member

    In Italy (as in all Europe bar the British Isles) we also use a comma (virgola) as a decimal mark.
    But when we see real numbers written "the English way", we pronounce this symbol "." as punto.
  4. atcheque

    atcheque mod errant (Fr-En, français, čeština)

    Česko (2009)
    français, France
    We could pronounce the "English point" as a comma if we don't take attention or if it is not important to make the difference.
    We will pronounce it point (in French) to make the difference, or because it is just written like this;)
  5. ilocas2 Senior Member

    In Czech it's called tečka, but we use comma as decimal mark (desetinná čárka)
  6. darush Senior Member

    Hi Youngfun,
    in Persian we use "."/noghte/ at the end of sentences and slash(a short slash) for decimals. its name is /momayyez/.
  7. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    That is so interesting! How would you write numerically twenty three and 45 hundreths? 23/45??
  8. rusita preciosa

    rusita preciosa Modus forendi

    USA (Φιλαδέλφεια)
    Russian (Moscow)
    period/full stop: точка /totchka/

    In websites: also точка, e.g. the Russian Internet domain is точка ру /totchka ru/
    In decimals: we just use и meaning “and”, e.g. normal body temperature 36,6 (we use European designation for decimals) would be “thirty six and six”.
  9. Perseas Senior Member

    τελεία /te'lia/ = full stop --> it is used to mark the end of the sentences or in emails and website addresses. It is read "telia".
    κόμμα /'koma/ = comma --> it is used in decimals, for ex. 35,6 . It is read "koma" (it is also read "και" /ce/ meaning "and" - as in Russian).
  10. mataripis

    mataripis Senior Member

    Filipinos use english and spanish terms. But there is " Tuldok" for "dot" and "kudlit" for coma in Tagalog.
  11. darush Senior Member

    Hi rusita:)

    yes, that's right.
  12. origumi Senior Member

    Hebrew: one name for all "." types, נקודה nekuda.

    The decimal point is a point, nekuda. Thirty thousands forty five and eleven hundredths is written as 30,045.11 .
  13. ahmedcowon Senior Member

    In Arabic:
    "."means noqtah نقطة used as dot and full stop

    for decimal point, we can't use "." because it is very similar to digit "0" in Arabic, we use comma "," which means faslah فاصلة

    3.002 = ٣٫٠٠٢
  14. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    To the last three contributions: this is all modern usage, borrowed from European languages. You will never find the comma (or slash) used in this way in classical Arabic, Hebrew or Persian texts.
  15. darush Senior Member

    in following link it is mentioned that, the usage of decimal marker dates back to Arabs(in fact to Persians and Indians).
    here, Iran has categorized in red, but Persian digits slightly differs from Arabic ones.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2012
  16. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    - punt, stip (not a punctuation mark, just a little dot somewhere)
    - komma for decimals...
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2012
  17. origumi Senior Member

    Would you find them in Old English or Latin or the Ionic Greek dialect? This thread is about modern usage I believe.
  18. fdb Senior Member

    Cambridge, UK
    French (France)
    No, but you will find sexagesimal fractions in mediaeval Arabic and Hebrew texts. I thought these might be more interesting for this topic than mere replicas of English and French usage.
  19. OneStroke Senior Member

    Hong Kong, China
    Chinese - Cantonese (HK)
    If I remember correctly, the。 and 、have been around for a longer time, so I don't think it was 'imported' into Chinese the way commas, ellipses, semicolons, etc., were. The name probably arose before 4 May.
  20. Youngfun

    Youngfun Senior Member

    Bắc Kinh
    Wu Chinese & Italian
    Hi OneStroke!
    I think you are right.
    But I don't know exactly when they were introduced. Probably ancient texts didn't have any punctuation like the Ancient Romans. Then later there were introduced only 、and 。but not commas, and no other symbols, so when we read ancient Chinese texts we have to 断句, i.e. breaking the sentences into parts putting commas, semicolons, quotation marks and so on.

    According to dictionaries, in China the Western style dot "." is used as full stop instead of the "。" in scientific and maths texts, in order to avoid confusion with the letter O and the digit 0.
    The western style full stop is called 句点 in Chinese.

    According to the replies, it seems that only English distinguishes different names for the same symbol "."
    Chinese full stop doesn't count because it's not a "." , so decimal commas don't count either because they aren't "." either.
    I know that half of the world uses decimal comma instead of the decimal point, but as Montesacro stated, if you see a number written in English style 10.5 you read it "point" in your language, right? Especially computer programmers have to pay attention, most programming languages only allow point, not the comma as decimal mark.

    Actually, in Italy it's spreading the habit of reading numbers with decimal parts with "punto" instead of "virgola", especially those in the technical field, due to the influence of computers and calculators probably.

    Hi darush! Don't you confuse with fractions?
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012
  21. darush Senior Member

    Hi Youngfun,
    No I'm not wrong(or at least I think so!). when we are writing a real number(in Persian digits) by hand, we use a short slash as a seperator, but it seems Unicode standar suggests comma like Arabic(there may be some sotwares with short slash ability).
    and we wrigh fractional(rational) numbers in this form: for exaple, 5 devided by two would be a short horizental line above it 5 and two under the line.
  22. Youngfun

    Youngfun Senior Member

    Bắc Kinh
    Wu Chinese & Italian
    According to the Wikipedia this is the symbol: ٫
    It looks more similar to a comma than to a slash, and can't be confused with the slash.

    And the horizontal line is the standard way of writing in maths.
    But because it's difficult to type on the computer, we use the slash instead.
    And measure units are usually written with slash instead of horizontal line, e.g. km/h, m/s, $1/kg ecc. But my physics teacher insisted we write those measure units with horizontal line in her class, to stress the division.
  23. Holger2014 Senior Member

    Punkt - full stop, period [end of a sentence]; dot [internet addresses]
    Komma - decimals [example: 35,6]
  24. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    I had read this before but the apparent evidence of the difference is new to me: point vs. small circle. I had never looked at a point like that, and I wonder if anyone has the same feeling with regard to this (essential) difference.

    It might perhaps help if we had a look at derivations based on those different words (like our 'stip' is to be found in 'stipt', punctual, as well - which is the case with lots of European languages, I believe. Etymonline.com refers to pricking as the origin of 'punct-' and states that 'punctual' referred to having a sharp point, but that does not explain the link with punctuality, as being on time.

    The evolution of interpunction would be another interesting topic, but AL is probably not the right place for that...
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2015
  25. sound shift

    sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    I'd say that's an unanswerable question. In other areas of vocabulary, the reverse situation applies: English has one word where a certain language has several. I don't think it's possible to say why in that situation, either.
  26. 810senior

    810senior Senior Member

    In Japanese
    Full stop, period: 終止符shuushifu(a mark for ending) or ピリオドpiriodo(period).
    Comma: コンマkomma, カンマkamma(both mean comma)

    On top of that, we have other unique marks replaced with period and comma, which are in particular used in vertical writings.
    (。):句点kuten = a mark serving as period.
    (、):読点touten = a mark serving as comma.

    E.g. 学校に行くと友達にたくさん会える compared to When I head off to school, I can see a lot of friends.
  27. Dymn Senior Member

    Catalan, Catalonia
    In Catalan and Spanish the symbol "." is, as in French and Italian, always called punt/punto. And as many other cultures, we don't use the decimal point but the decimal comma, and thus, we call it coma in both languages.
  28. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Could you not say that cultures view things differently simply? They make distinctions where we don't, they see connections where we don't, etc. The same thing with mental pictures, I suppose: when I asked for a visualisation of 'distance', a Lithuanian and a Canadian showed a distance between them and me (dis-); the Fin showed an interval (their word has a vali-prefix meaning something like 'between'-). So the same word, it seems, but different connotations.

    I realize you might make a distinction exactly as a result of learning the language. I suppose that is why people argue about Sapir/Whorf... At least there are different worldviews, aren't there?
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2015
  29. sound shift

    sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    I agree with you, Thomas.
  30. marco_2 Senior Member

    In Polish full stop / period is kropka, and for decimals we use comma (przecinek), though we often say i (and) instead.
  31. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    If anyone can comment on the root of the dot/point word (like kropka, and tečka, and many others) please do. Thanks in advance!
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2015
  32. marco_2 Senior Member

    The verb kropić means: to drip, so kropka was primarily a trace of a drop (BTW, the same is in Ukrainian: крапати (krapaty) = to drip, крапка (krapka) = dot; full stop.
  33. ThomasK Senior Member

    (near) Kortrijk, Belgium
    Belgium, Dutch
    Wow, a drop... Interesting, fun to know...
  34. bibax Senior Member

    Czech (Prague)
    Czech teč-ka has the root *-tъk- = to touch, tangere. Only one touch with a pen/brush.

    tečna = tangens (a line);
    sedmitečný = septempunctatus;

    Latin: punctum from the verb pungo, pungere = to sting;
    (acu punctura = sting with a needle)

    Slovak: bodka < root bod- = to sting;

    (in Czech we have also bod = point; kritický bod = critical point)
  35. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA

    - a "full-stop"/"period" is called Վերջակետ (pronounced verčagéd or verjakét), literally "end-dot". (The full stop in Armenian writing is not a single dot, but two dots. For example, "Hello." = "Բարեւ:")

    - "dot" is կետ (ged / ket)

    - "comma" is ստորակէտ (sdoragéd / storakét), literally "lower-dot"; Armenia uses the decimal comma rather than the decimal point
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2015
  36. Armas Senior Member


    piste = point, dot, from pistää = to stick, prick, sting
    pilkku = comma, we use decimal comma. It also means spot in skin, fur, it comes from pilkka = marking made in a tree trunk by removing bark.

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