By Naomi S. Baron

ISBN-10: 0415186854

ISBN-13: 9780415186858

From pen-and-parchment to the e-mail revolution, language professional Naomi Baron indicates how know-how impacts the best way we converse and write, and how we educate our youngsters to take action. The fine--and disappearing--distinction among spoken and written English is on the center of this enticing ebook, which incorporates a number of interesting anecdotes describing the lengthy trip From Alphabet to Email, in addition to a few scary meditations at the way forward for language and literacy.

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Additional resources for Alphabet to Email: How Written English Evolved and Where It's Heading

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33 In Chapter 7, we’ll see how Henry James, while not intimidated by his amanuensis, nonetheless acknowledged that dictating (rather than writing in his own hand) invariably led to verbosity. For Wont of a Script Writers of Classical and Late Latin could choose between dictating and composing in their own hand. However, in medieval Europe, up into the thirteenth century, they almost invariably relied on scribes. Why? For want of a suitable script. Romans had a cursive script, making it possible to write down their ideas relatively quickly.

But what if you had no paper but only parchment or vellum? The first method yielded a sloppy document. The second method wasn’t economically feasible, given the cost of procuring and preparing animal skins. Serious alphabetization—and the ease of information retrieval it allows— had to wait until printing increased the demand for a writing medium that was cheap enough to be used for the equivalent of note cards. 40 Alphabet to Email First Bust to the Left Locating information within a book is only a microcosm of the problem of making your way within a library.

Whittingham’s 1557 Testament introduced verses into the English text. What had clerics done before the availability of precise chapter and verse citations? 41 Once a text is divided into sections, how do you list the words or phrases you want to find in these sections? Modern concordances and indices are based on alphabetical order. However, use of the alphabet to locate references within a text (or to locate texts within a library) didn’t reach full flower in Europe until the adoption of paper and establishment of the printing press.

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