C-Hash, C-Pound, C-WHAT?

A recent discussion raised the fact that C#, often called “See Sharp” is technically incorrect because the symbol used is not the musical symbol sharp, but is the octothorpe, also known as Pound, Hash, Splat, Number Sign, etc.

An example of the differences is shown here (provided your browser and current font set support it).  The character above the 3 key on most US keyboards is this: # – but the musical sharp symbol is this: .  See the difference?  Simply, one has angled vertical lines (“pound”), but the other has angled horizontal lines (“sharp”).

With the semantics out of the way, how then should we pronounce “C-Sharp” when we see it written in shorthand as “C#”?  There are two schools of thought on this from the pedants* and those that are happy to go through life doing things incorrectly 🙂

The first want to call it as it is written, which raises interesting names ranging from C-Splat to cocktothorpe.  The rest want to call it what Microsoft named it, regardless of how it is written – which is like me writing my name using the US alphabet as MIXILPLIX and demanding that you pronounce it as “James”.  (Now, if I wrote it in whatever native alphabet results in it being pronounced correctly, that is another thing – so tell me; what alphabet is Microsoft using?)

(*) Pedants – a word used to describe those that believe that paying attention to the details and being correct, is important (“pedantic” describes this behavior) – these words are most often used by those that do not.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.