From Shady Characters


Back in 2010, Shady Characters got started with a collection of articles on unusual marks of punctuation. Each mark, such as the pilcrow (¶), interrobang (‽) and ampersand (&), is covered in a separate series, and I’ve since added a comprehensive series about emoji. Read them all here:

There are also occasional series on Field Trips (journeys to places of special interest to punctuation-philes), Shiny Characters (forays into the world of typesetting) and Calculators of the Day, and I continue to publish regular articles on punctuation, books and everything in between. Visit the home page, subscribe to the RSS feed, or sign up for email notifications below to get new articles as they appear.

Alternatively, you may wish to take a look at the list of articles I’ve written for publication elsewhere.

4 comments on “Contents

  1. Comment posted by Richard Trevor on


    I have thoroughly enjoyed your blogs and Sha@dy Charac†ers.

    I wonder if you have looked into wind symbols at all? Not the artistic emojis: I mean the more scientific circles with barbs or arrows, used to describe wind direction and strength in weather forecasts—but, oddly, unavailable as unicode symbols, which suggests some sort of discordance somewhere.

    1. Comment posted by Keith Houston on

      Hi Richard — thanks for the comment! I haven’t looked into those symbols, but I note that there are at least a few weather-related emoji. Perhaps it’s only a matter of time before more are adopted?

    2. Comment posted by Bertrand Mougel on

      Hi Richard and Keith, just reading this page today. On the matter of wind symbols there is a french author Alain Damasio who wrote an awesome fiction book called ‘La Horde du Contrevent’ (The Windwalkers) and he creates a writing technique in it to describe all sort of wind with a scribe writing all its specific wind language with glyphs!

    3. Comment posted by Keith Houston on

      Hi Bertrand — thanks for the comment! As I understand it, Demasio uses special characters to represent some of the characters in the novel, too. Unfortunately, the book seem to remain untranslated. My French may be just about good enough to order a coffee, but it is several orders of magnitude beneath the task of reading a novel!

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