Re: Orrmulum -- U+204A -- large and small ?

From: Michael Everson (
Date: Fri Aug 19 2005 - 14:10:35 CDT

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    At 11:56 -0400 2005-08-19, Patrick Andries wrote:

    >>No, it is not a variant of &, which is an original ligature of e and t.
    >Yes. "Et" means "and" (English), "en" (Dutch), "und" (German) &
    >"agus" (Irish)... ?

    The TIRONIAN SIGN ET is not a variant of the AMPERSAND. The AMPERSAND
    is an original ligature of the letters "e" and "t". The TIRONIAN SIGN
    ET is derived from a notational system used alongside the Latin
    alphabet, and is not a ligature of any Latin letters.

    On Apple's Irish Extended keyboard driver, digit 7 is on the 7 key, &
    is shift-7, and the TIRONIAN SIGN ET is shift-alt-7. Alt-7 is the

    >>It is used to represent the Irish word "agus", which means 'and'.
    >? was used to represent "and" in Middle English as far as I know.

    I didn't say "exclusively". The TIRONIAN ET was used throughout
    Europe, from Portugal to Iceland.

    >Incidentally the contact who asked me this question doubts that Orrm
    >is the only author to use the large 7 if this is what is meant by
    >idiosyncratic (but he did not mention any other author using it). I
    >have no opinion on the possibility of other authors using large ? at
    >the start of paragraphs and sentences.

    I suppose in principle it could be casing as some other Latin
    abbreviations are, but that would be pretty peculiar. It could be
    useful in a scholarly context; I don't believe I have seen it, ever,
    in Irish printing. But I haven't looked for it specifically.

    Michael Everson *

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