• Abbreviations and standardisation in the Polychronicon: Latin to English and manuscript to print

    Author(s):
    Alpo Seppo Santeri Honkapohja (see profile) , Aino Liira
    Date:
    2020
    Subject(s):
    Manuscripts, English (Middle), Historical linguistics, English language--Standardization, Abbreviations, Abbreviations, Latin, Abbreviations, English, Digital humanities
    Item Type:
    Book section
    Permanent URL:
    https://doi.org/10.17613/0n5b-x565
    Abstract:
    Abbreviations were an integral part of the writing systems used in the Middle Ages. They were used both to conserve precious writing materials and to alleviate “the labour of writing Latin” (Hector 1958: 37). Proof of how widespread and sophisticated the Latin system had become is that the most comprehensive reference work for medieval Latin abbreviations by Adriano Cappelli ([1899] 1990) contains some 14 000 abbreviations. When vernacular languages like English and Anglo-Norman French began to be written down, the system of abbreviation was applied to them, partly modelled after Latin, partly inventing new abbreviations. The system was especially important in a multilingual society, as abbreviations can be language-independent. Towards the end of the Middle Ages the number of abbreviations began to decrease, simultaneously with technological innovations in book production and the emergence of English in a new nationwide function.
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    Published as:
    Book chapter    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    4 weeks ago
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