1) Google input tools: “These tools enable you to type in the language and keyboard layout you’re accustomed to, making it easy to keep in touch with family, friends and coworkers from any computer. You can even switch between languages with one click.” You just click on the Settings gearwheel at the upper right of the Gmail screen, check the box next to “Enable input tools” under Language, and add however many languages you want. Then when you open a message box you’ll see the Input Tools icon next to the Settings button in your toolbar, and you can turn it on and off from there. When I enable Russian, I just start typing in transliteration and it gives me a dropdown menu of the Russian words I might want. Very nice indeed. (Thanks, Sven!)
2) Hypocrite Reader “is a monthly magazine published exclusively on the internet. A new issue goes up on the fifteenth of each month. Each issue is built around a theme. The Hypocrite Reader neither makes nor disburses money.” Looks well worth checking out. (Thanks, Caroline!)


  1. Thanks, Languagehat (and Sven!), for this tip on the Google input tool — the Russian input works far better than I’d expected and may come in very handy.

  2. Why does the Hypocrite Reader want to look like a Wanted poster or a leaflet from a non-conformist chapel? It has a hideous black logo, aligning the headings down the center is almost always a mistake, and the huge serifs are depressing. They’ve got ALL CAPS, Upper- and Lower- and italic (all in both regular & bold), in at least eight different point sizes, all on one page.
    The writing looks interesting, but to change the settings every time you reach a new line of text is an elementary error in graphics – beginners do it to make things clearer, but it has the opposite effect.

  3. Also, they don’t need a big floating H at the top. The logo ought to be for The Hypocrite Reader.

  4. My wife’s iMac keyboard doesn’t even have a hash key. Why is that?

  5. But it has useful things like square brackets. If she were to use the Norwegian keyboard that you can get in the upper-right corner where the little flag is, the hash key would be the upper-case character over the “3”.

  6. dearieme, because they think alt + £ is sufficient mnemonic for Mac users in Britain, despite that only North Americans call # the pound sign.

  7. Garrigus Carraig says

    Other weird things about the design of the Hypocrite Reader: The use of guillemets in English-language text (including an opening guillemet at the end of a line). Sections (in one article) framed by Spanish titles in black at the top left and English titles in light grey at the bottom right. Anyway, it looks like it’s worth actually reading one.

  8. Yes, it does.

  9. Garrigus Carraig says

    (Opening guillemet left hanging at the end of a line because the guillemets are separated from the interior text with a regular space rather than a non-breaking space.)
    @U.K. – What were the locations of # $ and £ on U.K. typewriters, before computers? Why would they even include # and $, if indeed they did?

  10. You can see here that there was no standard placement even for the £ sign. It probably depended on how much your machine cost whether you got $ and = etc. I doubt they would have had #, I only discovered what it meant (lbs) after I moved to the US in 1976.

  11. I’ve never heard of hash being used for lbs, but I have seen it quite often for lbs per square inch (psi), presumably specifically for psig. Do you mean “pounds” in the sense of an abbreviation for psig – e.g. for the pressure in a tyre?
    (A million years ago, a girlfriend looked over my shoulder and said “You’ve written psia but you usually write psig. Is psia the plural?”)

  12. Psia sounds like an airline to me, but I see the distinction. My guess is that it’s a mechanical engineers’ convention to write # for psi. I only ever use # to mean lbs. US structural engineers hardly ever work in #, they work in kips 1 k being a force or load of 1000 lbs.

  13. Not all Canadians call # the pound sign, only the young ones who have been thoroughly americanized by TV and computers. We older folks called # the number sign.

  14. As for Hypocrite Reader, Portable Words is cool and very illuminating. Regarding excerpts from the decline of the wasp notebooks: the black notebook, I had no idea the Neal Cassady/Jack Kerouac prose style was alive and well in our day, including high-speed driving and automotive sex, and EMMA FUCKING GOLDMAN is disturbing because of the caps and a revoltingly unhealthy way of life.

  15. I admit I had to read it because of EMMA FUCKING GOLDMAN. I’m glad to see some people are still reading her.

  16. # was used to mean “pounds” on things like bags of root vegetables, thus: 15# = 15 pounds. It started out as an l-b ligature, thus: ℔. Quick writing made it into #.

  17. # was used to mean “pounds” on things like bags of root vegetables
    That gave me a flashback to the year we were members of a winter vegetable cooperative and had to drive through the snow to go look for beets in a dank cellar. Never again!

  18. Driving through snow to get to the cellar sounds like Dr Who meets The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe.

  19. marie-lucie says

    iakon: Not all Canadians call # the pound sign,… We older folks called # the number sign.
    I was thoroughly confused the first few times I listened to a recorded message that asked me to “press Pound”, which seems very strange to me. I much prefer “the number sign”, which is also used in such contexts. For “Pound” I still have to reflect that since the appropriate button cannot be the “Star” one, it must be the one with the “#” sign.

  20. marie-lucie- I had (and have) the exact same reaction to being asked to press the hash button.

  21. Trond Engen says

    I use guillemets in English texts all the time, even here at Hat’s. It’s quite handy to have something special for context examples like quotations and examples of direct speech.

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