Re: Boustrophedon and Chinese Re: A single font can display ANY alphabet, pictograph
|From:||R A Brown <ray@...>|
|Date:||Friday, October 14, 2005, 18:19|
Kit La Touche wrote:
> you're absolutely right on the spelling - i got muddled.
You did - but you're not alone. I discover on the Omniglot page on Greek
it written 'boustophedon' - see:
> what i meant by irregular starting position is that often boustrophedon
> styles have been used in the early stages of a written system's
> development, when there is no standardization even to things like text
> direction, and that therefore it would not be unreasonable for it to
> start from a variety of places, from text to text.
Yes, but tho it may happen that texts sometimes occur in boustrophedon
styles in these writings, I would not personally label them
'boustrophedonic'. Such boustrophedon style is just one possibility
among, often, many other arrangements, which is what one would expect if
there is no standardization.
The noun 'boustrophedon' strictly refers to a style of writing found
among the Greeks from the 7th to the late 5th or early 4th cent BCE (I
was, it seems, in error in thinking it might have started as early as
the 8th cent BCE). The method was standardized, a I explained. I would
be willing to extend the term boustrophedon only to other system where
there was a _systematic_ use of reversal from right-to-left to
left-to-write (or vice_versa). Tho I am aware authorities do appear to
differ on what they term boustrophedon or not.
I do agree that the unstandardized systems, which you write about, do
not normally survive the rise of a literary medium, which much surely
encourage standardization. There was, however, one notable exception:
Egyptian hieroglyphics which could be written right-to-left,
left-to-right or in columns from top-to-bottom according to artistic
considerations, the shape of the written surface and, I have no doubt,
the whim of the scribe(s). It is noteworthy, however, that the Egyptian
hieratic and demotic scripts were almost entirely right-to-left.
> as to what greek
> actually did when written this way, i defer to you.
Thank you. I did make one error, however - I started the boustrophedon
style a century too earlier! I also said that Greek-derived scripts,
Latin and Cyrillic, are left-to-right as Greek always has been since the
Hellenistic period (it was the internationalizing of Greek that killed
off boustrophedon). But one Greek derived script was always
right-to-left, namely the Etruscan script*; but the Etruscans adopted a
version of the western Greek script in the 8th cent BCE, before
boustrophedon had kicked in.
*I know there are a few late Etruscan texts written from left-to-write;
but this is undoubtedly due to Latin influence in a period when Etruscan
was probably on the verge of extinction.
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