Re: Acceptable alembic…

From: Andreas Stötzner (
Date: Sat Jan 05 2008 - 05:04:55 CST

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    Am 05.01.2008 um 00:43 schrieb Philippe Verdy:

    > …
    > Some other interesting ligatures to consider are those used in Old
    > French
    > (or Old Catalan) such as:
    > * The "de" ligature where the "e" was marked on the top of the "d" top
    > arm,
    > by curving it and closing it in a small curl at the top. This curl
    > later
    > evolved into a ligated apostrophe (d’) before the apostrophe was
    > detached.
    > * The old form of the exclamation point, which was initially written
    > only at
    > the beginning of the sentence (like it is still now in Spanish, however
    > today Spanish writes it in to vertically mirrored forms, at both the
    > beginning and end of the sentence) in a form quite similar to a
    > capital J
    > but with a descender (the dot of the exclamation was initially ligated
    > and
    > written below the baseline using some "decorative" curl on the left
    > side,
    > and the vertical stem was doubled, a thick one and a narrow one side by
    > side).
    > * The "pro" (or "per"? this depends on the way the word was actually
    > pronounced by various speakers) ligature (which car occur also in the
    > middle
    > of a word or as a word prefix like in "profontd" that became "pfontd"
    > before
    > becoming "fond" in today's French), written like a p with a horizontal
    > stroke cutting the descender, quite similar to a underscored p
    > (however,
    > typographical underscores should not cut the descenders of letters).
    > There may exist in fact lots of unstudied ligatures in medieval
    > scripts,
    > that were used up to the 17th Century in France, until the French
    > language
    > started to have their orthographies fixed by the French Academy,
    > influencing
    > also other languages of France, when the Academy tried to unified the
    > various spelling by dropping old letters that were no longer
    > pronounced or
    > not always written or where those letters, if present, were only
    > written
    > with various ligatures).
    > As long as printing was not widely developed and used, the work
    > performed in
    > various regions used lots of conventions, depending on the preferences
    > of
    > the copyists or writers, and the influence of their regional spelling
    > and
    > accents of the same words.
    > I think this will be the case for almost all languages in the world
    > before
    > the wide development of metal printing, and the massive use of
    > typewriters
    > in administrations, requiring it even for legal texts or official
    > documents
    > made by notaries or État-Civil registries (even those made initially by
    > churches). The orthographies were finally fixed only when book
    > publishing
    > became much less expensive and newspapers became popular in almost all
    > cities, and when public schools became free for all children with an
    > official school program and an official letter forming taught in
    > schools
    > (and their use required in public exams).

    This list is NOT THE PLACE to deliver high school lectures upon matters
    of general aspect.
    You are obviously not familiar with the actual state of the study of
    medieval/early-printing ligatures and abbreviations. Extensive research
    has been done on it in the past few years, see e.g. ; see the Latin-Ext.-D block of the
    If you than find some peculiar letters apparently not yet recognised
    you’re welcome to present proofs, explanations and suggestions.


    > But before that, writing was known by too few people, and used mostly
    > for
    > their private correspondence, and adopted lots of different styles. It
    > was
    > not perceived as a problem, but instead as a feature acting like a
    > signature
    > from the author, used to authenticate them (for example the King Louis
    > 14th
    > of France had his own writer during most of his reign, and was the
    > only one
    > allowed to imitate the "script of the King", who just had to apply his
    > personnal seal to finalize it, and using this script was strictly
    > forbidden
    > for use by everybody else).
    > So, if you look closely into the history, you'll find probably as many
    > ligatures as authors, because this were part of their signature! This
    > must
    > have also influence the fact that the design of metal types were also
    > protected very early (even before the protection of many other
    > proprietary
    > rights like trademarks) and this protection of type design still
    > remains in
    > today's fonts.

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