The symbol # refers to the word boundary, which is the beginning and the ending of a word. So does the phrase

# of Cs

mean that a consonant is the first or last letter in a word?

The whole sentence (found in my professor's notes) is

# of Cs always larger than # of Vs

  • 7
    My guess is that the # means 'number' here? It doesn't seem to make sense to say that a word boundary is larger... – WavesWashSands Jan 11 '18 at 15:34

Tragically, the letter "#" has two meanings. In linguistics, it is used to refer to a word boundary. More generally (i.e. not in the special usage of linguists), it (the number sign) stands for "number". The consequence of shorthand is obscurity.

So, the entire sentence should probably read,
"the number of consonants is always larger than the number of vowels".

| improve this answer | |
  • 2
    Polysemy is hardly tragic... – curiousdannii Jan 12 '18 at 3:05
  • @curiousdanni Elatedly, you're right... – Luke Sawczak Jan 12 '18 at 5:31

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.