The National Archives | Palaeography tutorial (how to read old handwriting)
The dating of manuscript material from the medieval era can be a bit which we were taught to play “The Paleography Game”, which more or. These criteria for dating are: an actual date on an For the problems of Latin letter form dating and the need to carefully study paleography regionally see. ; the remaining items are copied in one hand, dating ca. For more information on the dating of the manuscript and complete paleographic and.
To read texts written in old languages, such as Old French, requires knowledge of their grammar, syntax, dialectical variants, and more. Paleographers must master several foreign languages, historic and modern, to do their work. In addition to being written in what amounts to a foreign language, medieval texts are encoded in a system of writing that is strange to the modern eye.
Even when a language retains the same alphabet, letter shapes evolve. Twelfth-century handwriting does not look the same as 16th-century handwriting, and both would certainly be very different from what a 21st-century writer would pen down. Complicating this picture further, the medieval period made use of complex systems of abbreviations and ligatures letters joined together that varied, even within a given time period and place, from genre to genre.
For instance, legal practice had its own specialised language. Legal language was as obtuse then as it is now to the untrained reader! Paul Getty Museum, Ms. Ludwig XV 5, fol. Helping Illuminate Language Change. Modern languages, such as French and English, are very far removed from their medieval counterparts—at least to the uninitiated.
Studying old documents, and comparing them over time, is key to understanding how language has changed over the centuries.
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Making Primary Sources Available. The data contained in ancient and medieval documents—literary data, historical data, and economic data, just to name three—is the starting point of the work of historians, art and music historians, specialists of ancient languages, literature specialists, literary critics, and linguists. Your choices in action and dialogue could lead to you romancing that special someone.
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What Do Paleographers Do?
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