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Re: orion-list Writing systems


I list quite a few quotes in chapter 1, "The Voice of the Absent" -
all the way up to Albertus Magnus and John of Salisbury - and I'll
be darned if I'm going to put the whole book, chapter by chapter
out here on the net!

   >Have any of these published an article in a journal on this
This is book length material. There are no Readers Digest Condensed
Books by these folk out there - one must read the items on the bib.

   >Are you quite certain that they are claiming slight
   >variabilities in horizontal spacings between letters within words
   >are phonologically significant?

Of course phonological information is there, but you are misunder-
standing the primary purpose of the writing systems. The conflation
of sound with voice is again modern; the ancients knew that _sound_
is *relative* and varies depending upon whether one is, for example,
a baritone, an alto, or a soprano. They also knew that the auctorial
'voice' is a constant. Hence, *sound* is a variable; *voice* is a
constant. They knew that sound (the variable) could not be written
down, but that 'voice' (the constant) could be - and it was.

The primary purpose of these systems is as a *performance* record.
The closest modern analogy is a visual tape recording - including
spectrophonography - the systems contain everything on HOW to
reproduce *relative* to the variable, that is, sound, the auctorial
voice, the constant.

Take another look at those titles on the bib: everyone of them deals
with durational and/or stress notations as performance records. Stevick
now is fully aware of the phonological information in the variant phones,
but is far more interested in the grammatical implications. O'Keeffe's
performance view is obvious from her title, _Visible Song_. Kelly, of
course, works on Gregorian Semiology... and yes, the not-so-"slight"
spacing and clumping (a full ayin/'o' space is NOT slight) is relevant
musically also. Everyone of them is claiming - and illustrating - that
the clumping and spacing (Stevick's 'graphotactics') are significant
and meaningful. Please remember that what one is used to is what is easy.

The various phones recorded in the variant forms are part of the
performance record. Marchand *does* pay attention to the variant forms.
Marchand, as Michael Clanchy (_From Memory to Written Record: England
1066-1307_. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1979) knew that these variant
forms, xenographic exchange, and MS punctuation meant something, and
while Marchand did not as yet know what they meant, he darn well wrote
them up anyway. Please note that Clanchy is so accustomed to reading MSS
that he can mentally visualize the documents. (One reader chastized me
for expecting others to be able to visualize MSS <G> - I have taken his
comment into account.) All Clanchy needed was my presentation handout
grouping examples of variant forms, clumping and spacing, and xenographic
exchange to fully and completely understand HOW to read the documents.
("I knew it meant something, but I didn't know what"... followed by a 40
minute grilling on the writing systems!)

Only the symbol sets and graphic representations differ; these later
documents use the *same* system we see at Qumran and on the Yadi
stele - because it was the Semitic/Hebraic system we see at Qumran
that was adopted by early Christians. (The Semitic/Hebraic full notation
system came back into Latin writing systems only after the advent of
Christianity.) These Medieval MSS are quite relevant to our under-
standing of HOW to read these documents from those spread-out-all-
over-the-place caverns that have been lumped together under the term

Dr. Rochelle I. Altman, co-coordinator IOUDAIOS-L  risa@hol.gr

For private reply, e-mail to "Rochelle I. Altman" <risa@mail.hol.gr>
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