Re: FAQ entry (was: Looking for information on the UnicodeData file)

From: Jim Allan (
Date: Tue Mar 11 2003 - 15:32:22 EST

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    John Cowan posted:

    > How do you know that? Either "Caesar" or "Cæsar" is good Latin.

    Christopher John Fynn posted in response:
    > No.
    > Hart's Rules:
    > <<
    > The combinations æ and œ should each be printed as two letters in Latin and Greek words, e.g. Aeneid, Aeschylus, Caesar, Oedipus, Phoenicia; and in English, as formulae, phoenix. Print e.g. oestrogen (where oe represents a single sound), but, e.g., chloro-ethane (not chloroethane) to avoid confusion.
    > In Old English words use the ligature Æ, æ, as Ælfric, Cædmon; and in French use the ligature œ as in œuvre.
    > The Chicago Manual of Style:
    > <<
    > The ligatures æ and œ should not be used either in Latin or Greek words or in words adopted into English from these languages

    These are twentieth century rules for correct *normalization* of Latin
    loanwords and names in English (and Greek loanwords and names in English
    as apearing in traditional Latin transliteration form).

    What is wrong according to these rules may be quite correct by other rules.

    It would certainly be odd to insist that the native Latin writers who
    invented the _æ_ and _œ_ digraphs were wrong to do so, or that continued
    use of these digraphs into at least the nineteenth century for Latin
    loanwords in English was intrinsically wrong.

    In quoting from English authors who used such diagraphs, it is probably
    more correct in most cases to maintain them, just as one should normally
    quote “hôtel” rather than “hotel” or “waggon” rather than “wagon” if
    that is what appears in the text.

    Also, it depends upon purpose whether someone citing a passage of Latin
    from a manuscript containing such digraphs presents it in modern
    normalized orthogaphy or attempts to render more exactly the orthography
    of the manuscript.

    _Cæsar_ is, at least on occasion, a correct alternative to _Caesar_ and
    probably sometimes the obvious preferred alternative.

    _Encyclopædia Britannica_ with _ae_ is certainly the *correct* name for
    that product, even though the form is not correct by twentieth century
    normalization rules.

    Then there is the popular medieval singing group _Mediæval Bæbes_.

    Jim Allan

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