Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 2nd Dec 2009 23:17 UTC
Features, Office A few weeks ago, we talked about how the rise of computing, a field wherein English is the primary language, is affecting smaller languages, and more specifically, the Dutch language (because that's my native tongue). Of course, it's not just the smaller languages that are affected - English, too, experiences the pressure.
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RE: Spaces = Silent Reading?
by jack_perry on Thu 3rd Dec 2009 07:11 UTC in reply to "Spaces = Silent Reading?"
jack_perry
Member since:
2005-07-06

Without entirely agreeing with you, I do think Thom at least implies something wrong when he says, For the first time, reading became something you could do in silence, as a private thing. (emphasis added) Silent reading as a private behavior most definitely existed in Imperial Rome, for example but it was usually done by moving one's lips. Augustine of Hippo, in the Confessions, relates the amazement of him and some friends when they came to meet Ambrose of Milan and found him reading silently. That said, Augustine was a highly educated and cultured man, so this also implies that Thom isn't far off the mark.

On the other hand, Thom is definitely wrong about spaces between words. Spaces don't appear in nearly any writing before the Romans and Greeks (in fact, I can't find any reference to spaces in writing before them). To the contrary, the Romans specifically invented a word divider that everyone else lacked, called the interpunct.

See more fully here:

http://www.stanford.edu/class/history34q/readings/Manguel/Silent_Re...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Word_divider

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interpunct

Reply Parent Score: 4

TemporalBeing Member since:
2007-08-22

Further, Greeks did use spacing and punctuation in earlier than the 8th century, and it wasn't added in for the monks - it was added in for people whose second language was Greek. Prior to that there was (i) no spacing, (ii) no sentence punctuation, and (iii) no breathing marks.

Reply Parent Score: 2