Sunday, February 14, 2010

Question Mark ????????????????????????

In the English language, the question mark (?), also known as an interrogation point,interrogation markquestion pointquery, or eroteme, is a punctuation mark that replaces the period at the end of an interrogative sentence. It can also be used mid-sentence to mark a merely interrogative phrase, where it functions similarly to a comma, such as in the single sentence "Where shall we go? and what shall we do?", but this usage is increasingly rare. The question mark is not used for indirect questions. The question mark character is also often used in place of missing or unknown data.

Lynne Truss attributes an early form of the question mark to Alcuin of York. Truss describes thepunctus 
 of the late 700s as "a lightning flash, striking from right to left", a mark looking like this. (The punctuation system of Aelius Donatus, current through the Early Middle Ages, used only simple dots at various heights.)
This early question mark was a decoration of one of these dots, with the "lightning flash" perhaps meant to denote intonation (or was it a tilde or titlo, named after the latin word titulus, as in “ ·~ ”, like those wavy and more or less slanted marks used in lots of medieval texts for denoting various things such as abbreviations, and that would become later various diacritics or ligatures or modified letters used in the Latin script?), and perhaps associated with early musical notation like neumes. Over the next three centuries this pitch-defining element (if it ever existed) seems to have been forgotten, so that the Alcuinesque stroke-over-dot sign (with the stroke sometimes slightly curved) is often seen indifferently at the end of clauses, whether they embody a question or not.
In the early thirteenth century, when the growth of communities of scholars (universities) in Paris and other major cities led to an expansion and streamlining of the book-production trade , punctuation was rationalised by assigning Alcuin's stroke-over-dot specifically to interrogatives; by this time the stroke was more sharply curved and can easily be recognised as the modern question-mark.
The symbol is also sometimes  thought to originate from the Latin quaestiō (that is, qvaestio), meaning "question", which was abbreviated during the Middle Ages to Qo. The uppercase Q was written above the lowercase o, and this mark was transformed into the modern symbol. However, evidence of the actual use of the Q-over-o notation in mediaeval manuscripts is lacking; if anything, mediaeval forms of the upper component seem to be evolving towards the q-shape rather than away from it.
many types of question marksssss

In Medicine
 A question mark is used in English medical notes to suggest a possible diagnosis. It facilitates the recording of a doctor’s impressions regarding a patient’s symptoms and signs. For example, for a patient presenting with left lower abdominal pain, a differential diagnosis might include ?Diverticulitis (read as 'Query Diverticulitis').

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