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According to the standard view on the issue, the habit of marking questions with a particular typographical sign in Greek and Latin script does not arise prior to the eighth or ninth century. This period is generally credited with the ‘invention’ of the question mark (excepting Syriac evidence, which points to the fifth and sixth centuries). The purpose of the present article is to correct this view. It argues that the first indication for the use of a typographical sign that marks questions can actually be detected no later than during the reign of Emperor Hadrian (a.d. 117–38), that is, more than half a millennium before the traditional date of the invention. The chief witness is Nicanor of Alexandria, who does not seem to have used question marks himself, but criticizes the misappropriation of another punctuation mark to that purpose. He thus indirectly testifies to the existence of question marks. Comparable traces can also be found later in the exegetical works of some Christian commentators.
[20.1] Chapter 13 explained how Acts are structured, identified their various components (such as preambles, titles, headings and examples) and explained whether each component is treated as part of the Act. This chapter deals with the role that those components play for interpretative purposes, whether treated as part of the Act or not. Collectively the components help explain the scheme of the Act.
Molière was an experienced actor and dramatist before he became a published author. He warned readers on more than one occasion that much of his art was simply lost in print. If that is self-evidently true, it is also the case that it was not all loss for Molière’s original readers: they could read his dedicatory epistles to society’s potentates whom he was trying to impress; they could read his occasional prefaces, in which he addressed his readers directly and with a lightness of touch that anticipates the dramatic text itself; and they could sometimes see illustrations that crystallised key aspects of his comic imagination. Moreover, readers would have been familiar with newly established conventions in the printing of dramatic literature that would have helped them to reconstitute in their mind’s eye aspects of performance: scene divisions evoking entrances and exits, and stage directions both explicit and (more importantly) implicit. The punctuation of the printed text is an unreliable guide to actual performances, but helps readers to hear the particular performance inscribed into the printed version of the text. Meanwhile, different editions, in the seventeenth century and since, with ever-evolving apparatus, offer readers increasingly varied approaches to the plays.
Chapter 4 describes the fundamental components of historical writing systems, in order to provide a first compendium of definitions immediately relevant to historical orthography. The chapter begins with an overview of different types of writing systems, covering similarities and differences between pictograms, ideograms, syllabaries and alphabets. The discussion then focuses in greater detail on alphabetic orthographies, defining basic elements in historical writing systems that can work as individual foci of analysis or can combine together for a broader empirical perspective. These elements are defined in this chapter under the following categories: graphemes and allographs, letters, graphs, characters and glyphs, punctuation and capitalisation. Within these general categories, my discussion also covers definitions and examples for terms like graphemic inventories and word division which are conceptually related to the elements above. The graphemic inventory of a writing system consists in the full collection of graphemes used in a specific language where the writing system is used. The expression word division indicates the ways in which words in historical texts usually appear, i.e. joined, hyphenated or separated.
Dialogue can be used to develop characters and progress plot but also needs to be dramatically necessary: characters need good reasons to impart information. Characters’ voices need to be differentiated. Dialogue injects energy; too much reported speech and action saps it. How to deliver information through dialogue without it feeling artificial. The value of what is not said and what stands behind the spoken words. The significance of silence. The constructed nature of ‘realistic’ dialogue. The debate over ‘said’. A guide to conventional and unconventional ways of punctuating dialogue. Managing accent and dialect. The problem of ‘other world’ speech. Managing a character’s thoughts.
‘If dialogue in fiction faithfully reflected speech in real life it would often be boring – full of repetitions, non sequiturs, digressions, irrelevancies, trivia and hesitations; it would also take up far too much space. The writer’s aim is to make dialogue appear authentic.’
This chapter shows that a lack of self-consciously literary excess in Kipling’s prose was sometimes mistaken for the absence of style. Yet there is a control in Kipling’s writing that a careful and sensitive reading can access. The chapter considers a particular habit of punctuation in Kipling: the use of a semicolon followed by a strictly superfluous ‘and’. This mark of punctuation advertises the writtenness of the prose and so signals the presence of a knowing narrator, whilst also raising questions about causation and consequence.
This chapter shows that marks of punctuation are continuous with the much larger forms of punctuation that interrupt human experiences in time and space, especially ‘larger relations of voice and body, space and absence’. The chapter shows that punctuation has ‘reciprocal and reflexive relationships’ with what it punctuates while at the same time punctuation marks can work ‘as reminders of and reflections on vocal and bodily presence’.
The chapter describes the minimalist nature of ancient punctuation, arguing that the absence of quotation marks in ancient texts is a more interesting phenomenon than usually thought. The chapter examines numerous cases where the absence of quotation marks makes it difficult for a reader to be initially sure where a speech begins or ends; it is argued that there is regularly a lot at stake for our interpretations in this uncertainty, since the reader must decide for themselves what the passage really means before deciding where the speeches begin and end.
The various strands of Shakespeare scholarly publishing are explored in this chapter. The emergence of techniques for producing increasingly accurate facsimiles of early modern editions led to the appearance of multiple facsimile editions of the First Folio and of the early quartos. But the period was also marked by significant controversy, most particularly in the instance of John Payne Collier's claim to have uncovered an edition of the 1632 second folio with annotations in the hand of a seventeenth-century theatre functionary. The eventual debunking of Collier's claims destroyed his reputation. Of key importance in the period was the production of the Cambridge Shakespeare, under the primary editorship of William Aldis Wright. This was the first edition produced by university scholars and it offered the definitive scholarly text of its era (in addition to being spun off, commercially, into the Globe Shakespeare). The chapter closes by considering the launch of the Arden Shakespeare, initially under the general editorship of Edward Dowden. The Arden set the model for academic editions produced by a range of editors under the stewardship of a general editor; it has survived through a number of iterations over the course of more than a century.
When Sterne (unsuccessfully) pitched to Robert Dodsley the first two volumes of Tristram Shandy, he was directing his novel to the very man whose career had been built on writing and publishing texts which sat on generic boundaries, such as his play The Toy-Shop (1735). Through an analysis of experimental texts in this tradition, including novels such as Jane Collier and Sarah Fielding’s The Cry: A Dramatic Fable (1754) and Richardson’s Sir Charles Grandison (1753), which imported dramatic devices into mid-century prose, this chapter contextualises Sterne’s mise en page experimentation within a wider mid-century fascination with hybrid print forms. Sterne was arguably aware of the theatrical heritage of sermon punctuation when he displaced these typographic characteristics from his professional work into his fiction, where such visual markers appeared innovative and surprising. By analysing Sterne’s sermonic punctuation and linking it to his development of a mid-century aesthetics of typesetting the novel, I suggest that Sterne drew from Anglican works published from within his professional context while responding to a 1750s fashion for printing closet drama and dramatic novels.
This chapter reveals the elaboration of a set of critical priorities, transition prime among them, crystallised by Aaron Hill in the 1730s. Offering what he claimed to be a purified version of pantomime’s techniques for arresting attention, Hill wrote of how actors could become a ‘true FAUSTUS’ for the theatres through transition, creating iconic and dynamic moments of suspension during which they could shift mind and body from one passion to another. Hill’s emphases continue into the time of David Garrick, whose transitions into ‘pensively preparatory attitudes’ were praised as intellectual achievements and blamed as pantomimical tricks. Ultimately, pauses and the transitions that occurred upon them became moments when an actor could be described as asserting their artistic autonomy and the focal point of critical attention. The realisation of Hill’s dreams — a theatre where sophisticated emotion replaced slapstick motion as the key source of spectacle — soon, however, risked becoming a Faustian pact, for an insight into the transitions of a play seemed to demand as much private attention to the page as public engagement with the stage.
Native language identification (NLI)—the task of automatically identifying the native language (L1) of persons based on their writings in the second language (L2)—is based on the hypothesis that characteristics of L1 will surface and interfere in the production of texts in L2 to the extent that L1 is identifiable. We present an in-depth investigation of features that model a variety of linguistic phenomena potentially involved in native language interference in the context of the NLI task: the languages’ structuring of information through punctuation usage, emotion expression in language, and similarities of form with the L1 vocabulary through the use of anglicized words, cognates, and other misspellings. The results of experiments with different combinations of features in a variety of settings allow us to quantify the native language interference value of these linguistic phenomena and show how robust they are in cross-corpus experiments and with respect to proficiency in L2. These experiments provide a deeper insight into the NLI task, showing how native language interference explains the gap between baseline, corpus-independent features, and the state of the art that relies on features/representations that cover (indiscriminately) a variety of linguistic phenomena.
The conclusion to this book reflects on how compression and concision may have been fundamental to Austen’s drafting process, especially as revealed in the manuscript to her unfinished novel, Sanditon, written in the year of her death. By the time that Austen was writing Emma, at least, she was drafting strikingly elliptical prose, as in the strawberry-picking episode at Donwell Abbey. The often similarly fragmented sentences of Sanditon are not jottings or shorthand to be expanded later, as they were once thought to be. Rather, Austen’s manuscripts suggest that she channelled the contingencies of the drafting process into some of her most forward-reaching stylistic developments, as she sought to capture the spontaneity of the human voice.
Demonstrates how an 8-word title consisting of 4 modifier noun pairs, each containing the same noun, can be multiply ambiguous. One ambiguity concerns the possibility of interpreting the noun as either singular or plural; a second, whether the first modifier-noun pair is interpreted as distinct from the second pair; and a third, whether the third and fourth pairs refer to the first and second pairs or not. Investigates the connection between syntax and punctuation to determine to what extent these possible interpretations can be disambiguated with sentence internal punctuation.
The term ‘declamation’ shifted its meaning from a training and display exercise undertaken by orators to a mode of speech used by tragic actors. By the end of the seventeenth century, the logic of grammar had suppressed the vagaries of orality, and the term ‘declamation’ served to define that which separated dramatic speech from the speech of everyday life. Because speech is driven by the breath and produced by the body, the thought or idea expressed by the actor could not be dissociated from their feeling or passion. In the sixteenth century and for much of the seventeenth century the dramatic text was conceived as sonorous matter, a visual sign of corporeal actions. The second phase follows from words becoming the arbitrary signs of ideas. From the perspective of a modern taste for self-expression, the earlier conception of the text as a score places unwelcome constraints upon the actor’s freedom.
places emoji within the context of the evolution of language and communications technology. Since language first evolved some one hundred thousand years ago, allowing people to communicate complex ideas to each other, each new technology has extended its reach. The last few decades have seen the speed of technological change increase rapidly, with the computer, the internet and mobile devices making communication across distances ever easier and cheaper. But these inventions have also presented challenges for how we communicate, especially around the important issue of empathy and emotional distance. Various innovations, from punctuation marks to emoticons, have been used in an attempt to provide solutions for these challenges. In explaining the trajectory of this evolution, the chapter looks at how emoji relate to and differ from earlier forms of written language, such as hieroglyphics, and why they’ve emerged to become so popular at this particular juncture in history.
Despite their potential benefits, teacher-created animated cartoons have not found much room in second-language (L2) research, probably due to some technical challenges involved in creating them. This paper reports the findings of a mixed-methods embedded experimental study, designed to test the impact of tailor-made animated cartoons on the correct use of common punctuation rules in English. The participants were 112 Turkish-first language (L1) learners of English, assigned to either the treatment or control group through random cluster sampling. The instructional materials in the treatment group included teacher-created animated cartoons, exercises designed using SCORM-compliant software, and a forum for discussions in Moodle. The participants in the control group, on the other hand, used PowerPoint presentations (PPTs) instead of animated cartoons and completed the same follow-up activities. Quantitative results suggested that the treatment and control groups’ post-test and late post-test scores significantly differed in favour of the former. Moreover, qualitative data from semi-structured interviews and document analysis revealed that the participants, especially those in the treatment group, viewed this learning experience highly positively. The findings globally imply that tailor-made animated cartoons might facilitate the learning of punctuation and help raise students’ awareness of it.
This article presents an analysis of the distribution and syntactic behavior of the English expression slash, as in John is a linguist slash musician. The interpretation of this ‘effable slash’ is largely equivalent to intersective and, but it differs from other connective devices like Latin cum, N–N compounding and the orthographic slash </>. A corpus study of American English finds that slash is productive in this use. Its syntactic properties confirm its status as coordinator, but it is distinguished from standard coordinators and and or, in that it imposes category restrictions on the conjuncts: it cannot coordinate full clauses or noun phrases with determiners. I propose that words like slash, period and quote form a class of ‘effable punctuation’ that entered the spoken language from writing. In sum, by incorporating slash into the grammar of English, I argue that slash is a rare example of innovation in a ‘very closed’ functional category.
The Tsinghua manuscript *Ming xun 命訓 contains a compound sentence that reads: 大命殜罰少命＝身. In an earlier article, the author translated this sentence as “The great mandate for generations punishes; the minor mandates command the person,” understanding the “＝” mark to indicate that the preceding character ming 命 was to be repeated. However, scholars in China have recently noted that the “＝” mark can also indicate the repetition of characters that occur in the same context earlier in the text. This would suggest that the “＝” mark here indicates the repetition of the word fa 罰 in the preceding clause, such that the sentence should read “The great mandate punishes the world; minor mandates punish the person,” which is the reading of the received text of the Ming xun. This scribal practice has important implications for the reading of other manuscripts as well.