158165Re: Languages written in the Roman alphabet (Was: Re: Chinese whispers game)
- Mar 1, 2009Mark J. Reed wrote:
> On Sun, Mar 1, 2009 at 9:11 AM, Eugene Oh <un.doing@...> wrote:Yep.
>> I am certainly learning a lot about the origins of typographic conventions
> Also, the tilde started out as a small superscript N since Spanish <ñ>
> grew out <nn> (as [J] grew out of [n:]).
>> But what are the "Greek system" and the "vocalic system"? I thoughtYes indeed.
>> Greek was the first alphabet to use vowel letters...?
> Yes, it was. But I think Ray is referring to the Greek tone marks.
> Ancient Greek was tonal;
> the French system applied the tone marks toWhen the French printers started using the Greek accents in the 16th
> non-tonal differences between vowels.
century, they were aware only of the Byzantine (and modern Katharevousa)
use where all three accents just show stress. But they did notice that:
the acute was the most common; the circumflex very often appeared over a
vowel resulting from an earlier contraction of sounds; the grave
appeared only on vowels in the final syllable. Now consider how the same
three diacritics are used in modern French :)
In medieval French, the cedilla, diaeresis (trema), the circumflex and
grave accents were unknown. A mark like the modern acute (probably the
old Latin 'apex') was _occasionally_ used to show (irregular) stress, to
mark diaeresis or to distinguish _i_ from contiguous _m, n, u, v_. It's
only from the 16th century that the French love affair with diacritics
Eugene Oh wrote:
> 2009/3/1 R A Brown <ray@...>[snip]
>> Personally, I'm not phased one way or the other by diacritics (tho, I doA little unfair - the Portuguese also had a hand in it ;)
>> think Vietnamese has somewhat overdone their use :)
> Blame the French. :-P
"Ein Kopf, der auf seine eigene Kosten denkt,
wird immer Eingriffe in die Sprache thun."
[J.G. Hamann, 1760]
"A mind that thinks at its own expense
will always interfere with language".
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