August 15, 2007

Robert Bringhurst, The Solid Form of Language (Graspereau Press, 2004). 75 pages.

"Using one script for heads, another for text is common enough around the world. But mixing two such scripts like this, in the midst of a single-language sentence, is comparatively rare and was a late development even in Latin script. It began in sixteenth-century mathematical texts, to mark symbolic letters (as in: draw a line from a to b). The use of italic to isolate phrases, such as the names of ships and the titles of books, began in Latin script with the practice of changing type to mark a change in language. A Latin title cited in French text or vice versa was cause for a shift between roman and italic. In time, the change of font was taken to mark a logical shift instead of a linguistic one" (48).



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