Did you know “the” is the most popular word in the English language?
An Australian innovator is very aware of that fact and thinks “the” deserves its own symbol.
Paul Mathis has spent over $30,000 developing and promoting a new keyboard character. It would represent “the” in the same way that the ampersand represents “and” or the “@” symbol represents “at.”
Check out the fancy promotional video he’s created to help, uh, spread the word. 🙂
It turns out that adding a new character to millions of keyboards around the world is no easy task. NPR points out one major problem.
Mathis’ symbol for “the” is basically an uppercase “T” combined with a lowercase “h” so that the two letters have the same stem (Ћ). But oddly enough, this character already exists in Cyrillic script, particularly in the Serbian alphabet. It represents the “ch” sound, like in the English word “chew.”
Mathis’ first goal is making it available to the everyday mobile phone owner.
So far, Mathis has focused on encouraging smartphone users to download keyboards that include the new symbol. That strategy might work on Android, where there are numerous custom-designed keyboards in the Play Store, but it faces a major hurdle getting into the hands of iPhone users. iOS doesn’t allow third-party developed keyboards, so Mathis would need to convince Apple his character is worth including in the official iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad keyboard to get any traction on the platform—very unlikely.
What do you think?
Would you use this new character instead of typing the word “the” if it was available on your keyboard?