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  1. ITV Report

Restaurateur invents new symbol for the word 'the'

Paul Mathis hopes to replace the word 'the' with the new symbol. Photo:

An Australian restaurateur is making a bid to introduce a new character to the English alphabet to replace the word 'The'.

Paul Mathis, who owns a string of restaurants and hotels across Australia, has designed the new character and developed an app so mobile users can install it on their keyboards for texting and sending emails.

So far the app has been rejected by Apple. But in a video promoting the concept, it is argued 'the' is the most popular word in the English language and both time and space could be saved with the introduction of the new character.

The promotional video asks "Why does 'and' have all the fun?" with the '&' symbol when the word 'the' makes an appearance in around 80 percent of all written paragraphs.

[This symbol] is the next step in communication evolution. [It] saves pen strokes, saves case strokes, saves space and makes texting and tweeting lightning fast and space efficient. It's time to give the symbol the recognition it deserves.

– Promotional video

Mr Matis told the Melbourne Age: "Is this important? No. Is this going to change the world? Not really. But is it something that might be useful for people? I think so.

"The Benedictine monks developed the modern version of the ampersand in the Middle Ages, when they were hand-copying religious texts. I'm not putting myself in the same league, but who knows – maybe in 500 years time people will be amazed that there was a time when we didn't use [it]."

The most popular words in the English language are:

  • The
  • Be
  • To
  • Of
  • And