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What is "@" "at" called when giving an email over the phone? Is it different in different regions? I have heard it as "XiaoLong ..." or something similar to that in Taiwan, but not sure what exactly they are saying.

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  • search web using e。g。@ 怎么读? -> e.g. @最早是表示“在每个里面”的意思,比如发票写作@25,表示在每本里面有25份。后来随着互联网 的普及,它就成了电子邮件地址专用的间隔符号,至于它的读音嘛,有读“埃特 ai te 的,也有读“诶特 ei te”的,还有读“圈a”的,港台地区还读作“小老鼠”,反正谁都知道是指的 @ 这个字符,读音准确不准确就无所谓了。
    – user6065
    Sep 7, 2017 at 14:12
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    This was recently asked @ r/ChineseLanguage. They also give 小老鼠,艾特,or 圈A.
    – Becky 李蓓
    Aug 19, 2020 at 6:06
  • Of the 3, (i.e. 小老鼠,艾特,or 圈A), only 艾特 is translated as "at" by Google Translate; not to say GT is always right or correct. Aug 19, 2020 at 7:26
  • The symbol @ is known as "arroba" in many European languages. It is a unit of measurement still used in Spain, Portugal and some Latin American countries, notably in rural areas. For instance, "in the Valencian Community , an arroba of about 12.8 kg is used to measure the mass of oranges" (quoted from Wikipedia).
    – KK_Tse
    Aug 19, 2020 at 7:27
  • Good to know that 小老鼠 means @ in Taiwan. I never heard of it in PRC.
    – River
    Aug 19, 2020 at 22:25

4 Answers 4

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As pointed out by @Daniel Yeung above, they call it 小老鼠 (Xiao3 Lao3 Shu3)in Taiwan, which means 'little mouse'. Takes a little imagination to see the resemblance. I think that is precisely what you heard over the phone.

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I've heard at least two versions personally.

One is to use the English reading of "at".

The other is "圈(儿)a". Meaning "a" with a circle around it.

It might be different in different regions.

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  • Thanks!, in which region is this "圈(儿)a" used?
    – JEOG
    Sep 7, 2017 at 9:41
  • I live in Beijing now and grew up in a nearby city. The two versions are both heard in this area. It may also have something to do with education level. There may be other ways to call it in other regions.
    – fefe
    Sep 7, 2017 at 10:01
  • another funny version: 小老鼠 ^_^ Sep 7, 2017 at 10:24
  • "English reading of 'at'" is much less common than a sinicized approximation of it, such as 艾特. Aug 19, 2020 at 6:22
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我觉得没有什么特别的叫法,只是音译(根据发音翻译)一般叫“艾特” means @

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It is very common in social media or IM that we just use the word 艾特, where you use @ to mention another user. Probably by doing so, that user will receive a notification. For example, we often say, "有消息记得艾特我。" If you use the default iphone Pinyin input and type "aite" the recommended words include "艾特” and "艾特我".

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