FWIW, based on what I picked up in the computer lab in the late 1980s, I used to always read $somescalar as "string somescalar". Now, after some effort to re-learn it, I read it as "scalar somescalar" most of the time. After looking up some old punctuation poetry
it appears that "dollar" was the common idiom back then, so I guess I have no idea where "string" came from in my lexicon.
Update:Apparently I learned it from BASIC, though that would have been much earlier than the late 80s, but it stuck.