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Caroline Minuscule: Transcription

Section 1: More Abbreviations

In previous lessons, we have become familiar with the common mark of abbreviation used to indicate the omission of final -m. In this unit, we see a wider range of uses of the common mark.

  • It can be used to indicate omission of -m following a vowel in the middle or a word, not just at the end, so look out for it in the middle of words.
  • It can indicate that a very common word has been shortened by suspension (leaving off the end of a word) or contraction (leaving letters out of the middle of a word) in ways not otherwise specified. For example, in this unit's lessons, we have e with the common mark, for est; dix with the common mark, for dixit; and oma with the common mark, for omnia. The correct expansion of these forms is usually easy to deduce from context and syntax, but if in doubt, consult Adriano Cappelli, Lexicon Abbreviaturarum.

This unit also introduces the ubiquitous form of medieval abbreviation whereby very common Latin function words starting with p- and q- (prepositions, adverbs, conjunctions, and pronouns, mostly) are abbreviated by a stroke placed above or below the letter p or q. The placement and shape of the stroke tells you which p or q word you are looking at. In the lessons on Gothic scripts, we will have more practice with these signs. For the moment, you can become familiar with the most common of these, the sign for per, which is a p with a horizontal stroke through the descender. (The per abbreviation can be used for the syllable per as part of a word, not only for the preposition per as a word by itself.)

The transcription excercises in this unit will give you plenty of practice with nomina sacra. (If you need to review them, visit Christian Late Antiquity Transcription, section 3.)