I decided to start a discussion on this in a an e-group for professional translators, during which I learned about Lady Mondegreen (allegedly common knowledge, but it turned out that several translator colleagues hadn’t come across her either – see Google, if you haven’t a clue what it is about) and, courtesy of Wikipia, an unexpected connection with Monty Python. Doune Castle is now on my list of places to visit on one of our journeys to or from Scotland.
In essence (quoting from the DifferenceBetween.com page):
- Both symbols and icons represent other things, but icon is a pictorial representation of the product it stands for whereas a symbol does not resemble what it stands for.
- A symbol represents products or ideas, whereas icon represents only items that are visible.
- Icons are restricted to graphical representation of objects and one can easily understand what they stand for. On the other hand, one has to learn what a symbol stands for, as it is not similar to what it stands for.
Did you know that name/symbol for pi/π, one of the most important numbers in maths, was ‘invented’ by William Jones, who was born in 1674 in the Welsh parish of Llanfihangel Tre’r Beirdd, and that the symbol wasn’t adopted universally until as late as 1934?
Read all about it in a fascinating Conversation article by Gareth Ffowc Roberts, Emeritus Professor of Education, Bangor University.
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