Spanish Ampersand

evanbrog's picture

I am just generally curious about the use of the ampersand in the Spanish speaking world.

I did see an old thread from '02 stating that both the ampersand and the "y" are used, for differing reasons having to do with taste and preference.

But what I am really wondering is whether there exists some hybrid of the y/et y/& that could speak bilingually. A Spanish/English ampersand.

I have never seen it, though I don't read in Spanish. Chances are it does, but if it does not exist, please, someone with more talent than myself--I'd love to see it. It would be a good exercise in the spirit of collaboration between cultures.

Evan

hrant's picture

Nice idea. Sounds like great Type Battle fodder! :-)

hhp

Bendy's picture

Hmm, let's see...

riccard0's picture

It could be an amusing exercise. But "y", in Spanish, simply means "and". So why not, then, a truly international glyph, for both Latin and English speakers, which combine "&" and "and"?
And one even more difficult, for us poor Italians: a merge between "&" and "e".

evanbrog's picture

Riccardo I am not sure if I follow.

Y in Spanish does stand for "and." The ampersand "&" also stands for "and" in English. Are you saying you would like to see an ampersand that incorporated the letters a, n, and d? That seems somewhat unnecessary then--though that very redundant mark would sure be interesting to see. If not I think the true combination would be of the "y" and the "&".

As far as for Italians, the & does come out of Latin's "et," which is why many ampersands still retain the shape of the et. So the e does exist in the ampersand currently.

Bendy, thanks for getting it going!

riccard0's picture

I will try to clarify what I meant, since my sarcasm could’ve made my point not clear enough.

in the Spanish speaking world […] both the ampersand and the "y" are used, for differing reasons having to do with taste and preference
So it is also in the rest of the non-Spanish-speaking world. Except that they don’t use "y", but whatever word means "and" in their language, English included (admittedly, in a Typophile’s thread, maybe the same you cite, there is a report of & used sometimes in Turkey for "versus").

I am really wondering is whether there exists some hybrid of the y/et y/& that could speak bilingually. A Spanish/English ampersand.
There’s nothing English in the &, more than in any letter of the Latin alphabet (and, obviously, there’s nothing inherently Spanish in the y). So, such hybrid would be between a Latin letter and a Latin ligature.

Y in Spanish does stand for "and." The ampersand "&" also stands for "and" in English. Are you saying you would like to see an ampersand that incorporated the letters a, n, and d? That seems somewhat unnecessary then--though that very redundant mark would sure be interesting to see.
My point is that it would be exactly as redundant and unnecessary as a y/& mark.

the & does come out of Latin's "et," […] So the e does exist in the ampersand currently.
That would be the challenge: making it distinct ;-)

quadibloc's picture

I have read more than one book with pictures of typewriter keyboard layouts in different lands. I do not recall ever seeing a symbol that was a stylized "Y" on a Spanish-language typewriter layout, either for Latin America or for Spain, used as a symbol for "and".

Indeed, as noted in this thread, in Spanish, "y" is a word, just as "a" and "I" are words in English. Words that happen to be one letter long. In English, that wouldn't be a circumstance under which Y could function as a vowel, but Spanish orthography is different.

And, as noted, this fact does make a typographical symbol which hybridizes the Spanish word for "and" with the ampersand, a stylized "et", a typographical symbol for "and", seem like a bizarre idea, rather than the natural idea it would be if, in fact, a Spanish-speaking area did have a distinctive typographical symbol for "and".

hrant's picture

What's bizarre is not seeing the possibilities.
Having an ampersand that subtly hints at a "y"
(without sabotaging its general use) would be a
very nice touch in a font focused on Spanish-
speaking countries (such as a font for a Spanish
newspaper).

Look at the ampersand in Triplex-Italic. It's
pretty normal-looking, but it also quite nicely
alludes to the "E"+"t". That's good design.

hhp

guifa's picture

Spanish used "et" but stopped using it around the same time it stopped using "ca" (modern "porque"), which, granted, was long before it stopped using ß. Honestly part of the reason that a lot of ampersands to me stand out in Spanish is that you pretty much never see "y" capitalized and (almost always) the ampersand is at capital height. Sticking out isn't necessary I think the right thing to do when it's a weak vowel that often is absorbed into the preceding or following letter. Plus, it means the symbol gets multiple pronunciations depending on what comes after it: Fernando & Isabel (Fernando e Isabel) vs. David & Carla (David y Carla).

Cristobal Henestrosa's picture

FWIW, ampersand is never used in Mexico, unless you are writing the name of a US company or something like that. When people see it, the chances are that it is read “and”, not “y”, because of the English influence. And they don’t even know how to call it: they just say “that commercial sign, you know, the one that you use to say ‘and’”.

Cristobal Henestrosa's picture

I think another reason for not using the ampersand in Spanish is because in English you can use it instead of three letters (and = &), but in Spanish it doesn’t mean any saving of space or effort (y = &).

hrant's picture

> chances are that it is read “and”, not “y”, because of the English influence.

All the more reason to hint at a "y"! :-)

> in Spanish it doesn’t mean any saving of space or effort

Actually in English the ampersand isn't really used to save space, plus it can serve as more than an "and" - something it could also do in Spanish. We had a nice thread about that once - where is it?

hhp

eliason's picture

Actually in English the ampersand isn't really used to save space

It isn't?

hrant's picture

Not usually, at least not these days. Mostly I think people just like the way it looks/feels. I mean, if saving space were such a big deal wouldn't we have a short form of "the" for example?

hhp

Cristobal Henestrosa's picture

> Mostly I think people just like the way it looks/feels.

I agree. Still, I don’t see any real advantage in using ampersand in Spanish. Sadly, it just looks alien to the language.

1985's picture

I'm sure I have seen a Jan Tschichold layout (or that of another renowned typographer) employing & for the purpose of saving space. Not exactly “these days” but not archaic either.

1985's picture

Cristobal, is & not used to demonstrate a special relationship in Spanish, as in English?

(I think I am paraphrasing Hrant here.)

hrant's picture

OK, here's that thread: http://typophile.com/node/12426
And it reminded me of how I've used it in the past myself:

"The most obvious way that Latinization affects a non-Latin script is in the imposition of 'foreign' formal elements such as certain serif structures, stroke contrast & stress, modularity, etc."

"Letters made to look like animals or nuts & bolts are not uncommon."

"Because of its high level of modularity and reliance on the basic line & circle, Futura presents us with much more uniform –therefore ambiguous– word shapes than Gill Sans."

hhp

riccard0's picture

In specialized fields like screen writing credits, "&" and "and" assume different values:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Screenwriting_credit#Process

Cristobal Henestrosa's picture

> I'm sure I have seen a Jan Tschichold layout (or that of another renowned typographer) employing & for the purpose of saving space

Eric Gill, An Essay on Typography?

1985's picture

Eric Gill indeed, I've just found a description of it in Type & Typography.

Cristobal Henestrosa's picture

> Cristobal, is & not used to demonstrate a special relationship in Spanish, as in English?

Not at all. I don’t remember any case, at least.

Don’t get me wrong. As a type designer interested in revivals, I love ampersands and I’d love to use them when appropriate, but contemporary Spanish users don’t think ampersands as belonging to their language. Admittedly, this can change at some point in the future, but it’s not that easy.

evanbrog's picture

Riccardo I don't believe the sarcasm was in good taste. Certainly I wouldn't assume to hear sarcasm in anyone's posts in response to query such as my own.

All in all this is a very enlightening thread, as I was hoping to gain more knowledge about the meaning of language by comparison.

Cristobal, that was very helpful. It sounds to me as if there could be some use for a mark as this, once the shock of "otherness" wears off. But you'll have that with anything new. As far as changing in the future, perhaps this is a start.

I'd still love to see some more examples. If anyone in the vast Spanish-speaking world found it useful, that's more than enough reason to design for it. Don't you think?

DumbType's picture

I must be missing something since I don't really
see the need for a 'bilingual' letterform in order
to replace the Spanish 'y'(and 'e' when the next
word begins with 'i') and the ampersand.

Just remember the fate of esperanto.

However I think it may be a good design exercise.

hrant's picture

Remember, it still has to look like an ampersand first.
This is about subtlety.

hhp

riccard0's picture

it still has to look like an ampersand first

Which, itself, is arguably the most eclectic glyph there is, appearance-wise.

Bendy's picture

>it still has to look like an ampersand first

How about something like this?

hrant's picture

You've just given me an idea: start with the Fleischmann-style "y"...

hhp

quadibloc's picture

As there are other languages in which the word for "and" is one letter long, I thought of suggesting y + и + &, and, in fact, the и can even be made into a unifying design element...

I am still dubious, as it would seem to only make sense if the ampersand was meaningful and used with some frequency in the languages in question. But there may be some bilingual display contexts where such a symbol might have some use...

hrant's picture

> And one even more difficult, for us poor Italians: a merge between "&" and "e".

From a magazine ad for the Tiffany & Co. in Manhattan:

hhp

Gunarta's picture

may be like this. the Y one. It is inspired by Hiragana. I edit Times New Roman y (italic) and edit it.

quadibloc's picture

Trying to improve on my compound symbol that also included the Russian word for "and", I obtained

and doing so revealed to me where a "y" was hidden in the ampersand, and so, for the original notion, I obtained

riccard0's picture

It would be easier using the Tironian et! ;-)

Also:
http://typophile.com/node/12521

rs_donsata's picture

Yeah, it's funny how the & is now perceived in Spain and Latin Amercia as an English glyph when it's also natural and correct in Spanish. A simple and Spanish friendly variation of & could be achieved by placing the Y's fork on the tail of the ampersand by separating the leg from the upper bowl.

evanbrog's picture

I've just come back to this. I almost imagine an international company with a Mexican partner and American partner thriving in the border states, where everyone knew here it was xxx AND xxx, though on the other side of the border everyone said xxx Y xxx. It's usage would be very circumstantial, I like the possibilities. Anyways, this was fun to read through once more.

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