Re: Fraktur Legibility (was Re: Response to Everson Phoenician)

From: John Hudson (
Date: Tue May 25 2004 - 14:22:39 CDT

  • Next message: Anto'nio Martins-Tuva'lkin: "Re: Proposal to encode dominoes and other game symbols" wrote:

    > Dean Snyder scripsit:

    >>So, you are saying there are glyph streams in German Fraktur that fluent,
    >>native Germans would have trouble reading.

    This reminds me of a game played by scriptorium monks in the Middle Ages. The textura
    style of blackletter, especially when written in a compressed manner, consists of many
    identical or near-identical letter strokes forming key letters. Monks amused themselves by
    coming up with words and sentences made up entirely of as many such letters as possible.
    When written in a compressed textura hand with tight letterspacing such words and
    sentences become completely illegible. The following is may favourite example, although
    the l, o and t in the last word make it an impure sample:

            mimi numinum nivium minimi munium nimium vini
            muniminum imminui vivi minimum volunt

    which roughly translates as:

            The very short mimes of the snow gods do not wish
            at all that the very great burden of distributing the
            wine of the walls will be lightened in their lifetime.

    John Hudson

    Tiro Typeworks
    Vancouver, BC
    Currently reading:
    Typespaces, by Peter Burnhill
    White Mughals, by William Dalrymple
    Hebrew manuscripts of the Middle Ages, by Colette Sirat

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